The Journey Home

Enwrapped in flesh we come to earth,
Created in our Maker’s image,
Where from the moment of our birth
We’re parties to a mortal scrimmage.

Just where the days ahead will find us
Remains a shrouded mystery,
But voices in the night remind us,
Despite our checkered history,

That places long ago prepared
Await the pilgrims who’ve departed:
Accommodations from the Laird
Who rules the homeland whence we started.

 

Laird: Scottish word for lord.

 

Unclaimed Inheritance

There’s never been a time when we believed
The wisdom of the Scripture we’d received
From unimpeachable authentic sources.
Our tendency to navigate new courses
Prevented that, and what we left behind
Was soon summarily put out of mind.

Our brash iconoclastic heresies
Dismissed the worthiness of pedigrees,
For we would rather swim an extra mile
Than new and older values reconcile.

Though we’re still unconvinced that we have sinned,
Our driftwood souls are blowing in the wind.

 

 

The Last Garden

The world the Lord has made unfolds in spring,
With rising Life in all that we discern.
The flowers bloom and birds begin to sing,
A thousand wonderful events we learn
To think of as a private chiliasm.
But we get used to it, as is our wont,
This Glory here below revealed, the chasm
‘Tween humdrum praxis and the Holy Font
Grown deeper than the gulf of Right from Wrong.
Deprived of nurture from our daily prayers,
No longer can we sing the righteous song
That slays infernal demons in their lairs.

We weed and push our mowers, whereupon
We hope that this is not the Eschaton.

 

Eschaton: the final days of human existence in God’s kingdom prior to the end of the world in Christian theology.

first published in The Anglican Theological Review

 

 

C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden.  Hundreds of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Australia and India.  His collection, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder was published in 2013 by White Violet Press.


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13 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    The moment before I opened this I was thinking of my own demise in terms of “going home” – a ‘wow’ moment for me if there ever was one!

    Haven’t even read the others yet but will be on them shortly, along with my second cup of coffee.

    Reply
    • Joe Tessitore

      This is wonderful Sunday morning poetry, C.B.

      Two of your closing couplets stand out for me:

      Though we’re unconvinced that we have sinned,
      Our driftwood souls are blowing in the wind.

      and

      We weed and push our mowers, whereupon
      We hope that this is not the Escahton.

      I had to look up ‘Eschaton’
      along with ‘chiliasm’ and am glad I did.
      I have to admit that ‘scrimmage’ threw me, probably because of my knee-jerk association of it with a practice football game, and thought it was too casual to go with the rest of your poem.
      On re-reading it, I’m thinking now that that’s actually what you intended – life here on earth as a ‘practice’ for what’s to come.

      Reply
      • C.B. Anderson

        Joe, “practice” works, but what I had in mind was “a rough-and-tumble struggle.” “Scrimmage” comes from the obsolete word “scrimish,” which is an alteration of “skirmish.”

      • Monty

        . . which is why, in Rugby Union, we have the ‘scrum’; from ‘scrummage’.

  2. T.M.

    These are fine and welcome sentiments, beautifully crafted, and delightful to read. But, do I sense in that reference to the drudgery of mowing a longing for fall?

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      T.M., Ha-ha. I get the reference, but in truth, fall has it’s own unique set of chores, and I am in the middle of them right now. Namely, raking leaves and cutting back perennials. I don’t want to do that for a thousand years either.

      Reply
  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    All three poems are beautiful, but also very sobering and disquieting.

    One thing about the use of “Laird” in the first poem to pick up the rhyme with “prepared” — this is the kind of sophisticated and masterly choice that a highly skilled poet will make. And it is the sort of diction choice that will be reflexively attacked and denigrated at the typical poetry workshop as “not acceptable.”

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      Joseph, Sometimes I just feel lucky that right word is available and happens to come to mind. The English vocabulary is enormous, so it’s usually the case that a word that meets the requirements is there at hand for the taking.

      Reply
  4. David Watt

    Each of these poems provide cause for reflection on faith, life, and our place in the scheme of things.

    I concur with Joe’s opinion that ‘Our driftwood souls are blowing in the wind’ is an especially memorable line.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      David, None of my poems really involve deep theology, but rather simply the existential circumstances of our lives where, as you say, we are bound to reflect on faith and life.

      Reply
  5. Monty

    Delectable, CB.
    Even for one such as myself – who couldn’t be any further removed from the subject-matter of all three pieces – it was a pleasure to read such accomplished work. And how easy they read, too . . the words just roll off the tongue with the same ease in which your lines roll into each other.

    Reply

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