18 May 2016

When You Give Death Its Sting

When you give death its sting And it is finished Nothing left but darkness and torn curtains And a bloody mess You’ve crucified Christ afresh And you’re both hanging dead How do you get to the resurrection? What gets you both down? Joseph and Nicodemus came sorrowful Begging for the body Can you feel that sorrow, too For your Lord’s death for you? When you realize you have killed him And so have no life

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
04 May 2016

The Hart of the Morning

The Hart of the Morning – Memories of a Song by the Spectator’s of Christ’s Passion (click to listen) 1 For three long hours a darkness that could be felt pressed down on the land. Those who came only to see what they could see left those who came to love and those whose duty it was to look. The hillside was still as death. From a dying man, the necrotic darkness was ripped in

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
20 Apr 2016

Jesus Prayer Rope

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me, the sinner” + Up early in the morning to pray At the hour we can still half believe Our dreams and that the sun Still comes up after the darkness + Like an invalid by the roadside Almost unable to rise up from bed We grasp our rope to pull ourselves Knowing he’s holding the other end + We sit between the Pharisee and The

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
06 Apr 2016

Great Lent 2016 Week 2

The poems below were inspired by the Lenten Triodion readings for each day, which can be found here: http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/prayers/triodion/triodion.html Sunday of Orthodoxy 2016 The first icon was written By the hand of God in red clay And the first kiss it received Was to fill it with breath But the first iconoclast Made the icon just a picture Removing it from the temple And preparing it for the fire And so the prototype came In

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
23 Mar 2016

Clean Week

For Orthodox Christians, Great Lent began just a little over a week ago. We begin Lent with a service called Forgiveness Vespers, during which we go around and ask each individual for forgiveness for all of our offenses. After this joyful and cathartic service, we call the next week Clean Week. The poems below for Clean Week were inspired by the Lenten Triodion readings for each day, which can be found here: http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/prayers/triodion/triodion.html Forgiveness Sunday

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
14 Mar 2016

Lent: Week Five

Judica {Veiling the Icons}   Veiled, all veiled around the sanctuary, from the cross to the icons, to the spiritual Body and Blood: bread and wine   Veiled, all veiled inside my self, from my heart to my mind, will, and emotions; behind the mask of “All’s well!”   Veiled, all veiled within the Disciples’ understanding and hearts; the Master among them as they argue which of them is greatest   Veiled, all veiled in

Johanna Byrkett 0
11 Mar 2016

Waiting to Rejoice

Laetare: O Rejoice! {Lent Week Four} Here I am— Waiting for God, Not quite ready For rejoicing yet; The shadows flicker, Darkening my soul, Still waiting for The rising sun This dark night —Not wholly black— Sprinkled with stars Streaming on me Diffused silver light, Promises coming Hope, As I wait Here for God I am awaiting With great expectation The rising Son —Myth made real— The glimmering sky Bursting fully alive With glory’s Hope…

Johanna Byrkett 2
08 Mar 2016

By the Waters of Babylon

The waters of Babylon drip from hanging gardens where All that is beautiful in the world grows down from Heaven The headwaters of the garden river from which life flowed And we sit beside them inspired to refrain from singing Hanging our harps like ripened tears on the weeping trees And cry out for the war-ravaged fatherland we so love We stroke the sweeping willow branches with a rustle Sounding like the spirit of God

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
01 Mar 2016

A Sonnet on the Occasion of Super Tuesday

For this pack of wolves, it is now the time To the cameras howl and bear shiny teeth All are future kings, if just in their minds But none are better than a common thief I’ll be at my desk away from all the din Fighting ignorance, which is our disease Not with sword and shield, but the humble pen. Let us not forget holy charities Love the Lord thy God with mind, soul, and

Chris Casberg 1
26 Feb 2016

Remember: Lent Week Two

Reminiscere   Do you recall Our wedding day? Face to face, Clasping hands tightly, Your veil removed— You were mine, I AM yours   Why are you At this corner, Selling your worth, Eyes looking down? Why are you Naked and bloody, Abandoned and forlorn? You are mine   Don’t you remember That I AM Your Maker-Husband Who loves you? O! Let me Take your face In both hands Eyes meeting mine   Call to

Johanna Byrkett 0
23 Feb 2016

Zacchaeus Zacchaeus

Zacchaeus Zacchaeus Put your money down Zacchaeus Zacchaeus Jesus has come to town Zacchaeus Zacchaeus You hope that I’ll see you Zacchaeus Zacchaeus Your old life will be through And though you’re a wee little man Who likes to grasp things in your hand When Jesus goes with you to sup You give all your life up Zacchaeus Zacchaeus Climb up in that tree Zacchaeus Zacchaeus The Lord you’re going to see Zacchaeus Zacchaeus You

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
12 Feb 2016

Introit: Entrance

(Lent: Week One) Chill and dank Is my soul —Emotions, mind, will— Closed, under ground; I’m hiding here In my sin Frustrated, and unsure How to escape Holy Doors barred, Soul windows shuttered In many here Sitting on pews Or kneeling down Before the altar In rote movements Receiving the Eucharist Ancient doors: Open! Fling wide all The heart gates And enter in! King of Glory, Illumine what in Me is dark— Be my Liberty

Johanna Byrkett 0
09 Feb 2016

Fasting

Fasting is easier as a virtue of omission than commission It’s easier to give up meat than to take the meat of the Word It’s easier to lament our sins than to confess them It’s easier to quit wine and whining than to be a blessing   We can save a lot by fasting, including our own souls But it’s much harder to spend ourselves for others I don’t mean alms – giving alms is

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
26 Jan 2016

Windows

We’re designed to worship through windows Through windows we feel like we’re there Like the one we’re worshiping truly knows And sees us bowing through the glare Every window a window to Heaven Every scene is of God above Every vision that we have been given Is all about falling in love   Our windows are rarely transparent Things float on the surface between What we see is always more apparent Than what the things

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
15 Jan 2016

Perspectives

Why me? I hear her moan; Why this broken mess? Why am I all alone— toiling daily, while he’s free? Why, why, why, God? Why me?   Why me? I look above; Why do you never quit? Why do you love, love, love me? You never flee, You take delight…Why, God? Why me?   Why me? I hear her cry; Why all of my friends? Why doesn’t someone try to love me in all my

Johanna Byrkett 0
12 Jan 2016

The Water Magician

Avestan was tired of the desert. Not the most astrologically-minded of the magicians, Avestan had wandered far longer than he had intended—not that any intend to wander to begin with, but once one starts wandering, it is hard to stop. Avestan had begun wandering one day when he tired of looking up all the time, and decided the stars really had nothing to say to him. Everything he needed was on his camel, his back,

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
29 Dec 2015

Birth Pangs

Oh sure there’s the baby shower But after that there just the waiting Well, and the nursery decorating And the putting things in order And the bag for the sudden flight And all the fears for the future And all the perhapses of the past And all the pushing pushing push And the breathe I know it hurts When all you need to decorate Is fresh straw and a star window Your hospital births lambs

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
15 Dec 2015

Mother and Child

Do the best things only happen when we pray? If so, from your lips to God’s ear; only you hear me. For every Rachael there’s a Leah For every Lot a wife and daughters For every Shunamite woman a Shunamite woman So we sit in the darkest place at the darkest time Rendering to Caesar our inheritance Marrying and giving in marriage Watching sheep and stars by night And Christ comes when nobody is looking

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 2
01 Dec 2015

Remember Lot’s Wife?

Remember Lot’s wife? She used to go to the market on the corner And on Tuesdays she played bridge With the girls in her play-date group – If wine glasses are playing cards, anyway Or sometimes they’d have margaritas With a nice thick salt rim Remember Lot’s wife? Three days a week she drove the carpool Took a minivan of kids to school And even, in summers, to the pool Dance classes on odd days

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
17 Nov 2015

Fruitcake

A dying Christmas tree in the living room In the front window so passersby can watch it die Has a pile of disguised boxes beneath it Each with another reminder of my mortality Here is a box that reminds me I stink to high Heaven Here a box so I can drink my troubles away Here a box to keep dung from dungarees There are boxes of distraction Gift cards for my lack of openness

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0