patience

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This poem brought to you by spending a day in our modern air transit system.
by Jeff Rainwater, 31 March 2017, Denver International Airport

A
fragile
resource
doomed ever
to encounter
inexhaustible
demand.
Wait
for
it…

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before ezekiel speaks

by Jeff Rainwater, 27 March 2017, Denver, CO

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. -Ezekiel 37:1

How did the owners
of these bones die?
Should not that
have been asked?
That daughter’s femur,
This son’s metatarsal,
How came they to this
bitter end?
These bones, bereft
of life, still hold
a story.

Speak, O Bones!

Was it some great
Armageddon battle
fought valiantly against
enemy greater than you?
Was it God?…tired of
the stubbornness
and grumbling and
back-biting injustice?
(Not a very just
solution,
even for God,
if you ask me.)

Perhaps you simply
withered away from lack
of essentials holding
death at bay —
clean water, ample food,
shelter safe and secure.
Maybe the fatal loss
was deeper yet.
Compassion this
tibia lying here
required, as much as
sinew and skin.

Speak, O Bones,
before Ezekiel opens
his mouth!
Share your lessons,
for a biting wind I feel
in my country and
among my kin —
of a very different sort
than what breathed
into you Life
again.

ezekiel in aleppo

by Jeff Rainwater, 27 March 2017, Denver, CO
Inspired by Ezekiel 37:1-14

“The Lord said to me,
Mortal, can these bones
live?” [*]

Can dry bones find life
when tyrants walk free
who slaughter their own
and let bodies rot
as food for vultures?

Will these bones ever
stand tall again when
nations profit from
the bombs and bullets
that cut down children?

How will families
ever be remade
when borders and homes
and jobs are barred from
the woe filled remnant?

Can these bones live?

“And I answered,
O Lord GOD, you know.”
[*]

Only You know.

[*] Ezekiel 37:3

the strongest

For my dad, Carrol Rainwater. This past January he turned 80 years old. Today, I turned 47. He is still my hero and role model. Thank you, Dad, for everything!

By Jeff Rainwater, 25 March 2017, Cheyenne, WY

When I was young
I believed my dad
was the strongest man
I ever knew.
The arms that would
lift me up
from every fall
surely could also
move mountains
and thoughtful words
guiding a son
into adulthood
must have power to
shape the world.

Yet Old Age is
a demanding
companion.
Wisdom exacts a
high price for
its company…
might and speed
and sometimes
even memory.
His once strong back
now bowed.
A body shaped
by his love and
Mom’s wheelchair.

Yet the Gatekeeper
Time has not
taken everything.
His best endures!
Determination undiminished.
Integrity unblemished.
Devotion to beloved and child
burning brightly
as a morning star.
When I was young
I believed my dad
was the strongest man
I ever knew.

I still do.

Photo by Feldore McHugh (https://www.flickr.com/photos/feldore/4854163335)

not by bread alone

by Jeff Rainwater, who should
probably be doing something else right now,
21 March 2017.

IMG_1088

For all the contemporary poets
I read who inspire me:

It’s noon-time hour,
and here I’m stuck
in my office chair,
staring at screen,
Legs stiff, back aching,
devouring words scrolling
in endless march:
poetic verse, delivering
smiles and laughter,
tears and rending of heart,
all my soul deeply craves.
Neither man, nor woman,
can live by bread alone.

Yet my stomach grumbles,
demanding it’s turn.
Bread will be good too.

witness woman

by Jeff Rainwater, 20 March 2017, Basin & Hyattville, WY

Inspired by John 4:1-29
In a world that is so adept at depersonalizing and dehumanizing,
the greatest gift we can give to someone is to see, really see, them,
as Jesus saw the woman at the well.

There you are,
Witness Woman,
strong in voice,
keen of mind,
brave at heart.

I see you.

There you are,
Witness Woman,
hidden by doubt,
held down by race,
buried by innuendo,
hemmed in by
loneliness.

I see you.

There you are,
Witness Woman.
Cast aside jar
and fear and
reputation.
You are so much
more than the
burdens you’ve
borne.

I see you.

You are my
Witness Woman,
strong, keen, and brave.
Now, drink deep!
Proclaim!
Live!

There you are,
Witness Woman,
I see you!

living water

by Jeff Rainwater, 16 March 2017, somewhere in Wyoming

Noon-time near Sychar…

Such a lonely time
seeking to quench your
thirst, O woman of
Samaria…

What drove you away
at more convenient hour
when others gathered
to draw and drink?

Whispers sharp as knives
and stares hard as iron
kept you from the well
more than any fault
of yours.

Sunday morning in America…

Still so many ways
we push people away
whose days are parched,
begging for life.

And I hear a voice
of Outside Witness call,
I met Messiah.
Won’t you come see?

Church, heed the summons
by those who’ve stepped not
into sanctuaries.
They too may know

Living Water.