Both Sides Of My Mouth: Lamentations and Praise

joy boat leland

Both Sides Of My Mouth: Lamentations and Praise

Don’t call me duplicitous
Call me human
As I look to the Divine
Rent in two
Ripped and torn
Half here and half there
With a mouth full of lamentations and praise
I have pushed the cheek full of both
The tongue is muted in the mystery of the days
Hoarding the praise, as if it would leave me wanting
Malnourished because of its lack
In a diet
Heavy with lamenting

Heat and heavy hang in the air
It is summer and it is the South
But it is filled with grief and loss
So it is heavier and hotter and more burdensome this year
Rife with pain
Heat and heavy hang here
Suspended in the invisible netting of  time

But I have a place to hold on to both’s and and’s
Do not call me names
Filled with an unknowing
The Psalmists knows this place well
Where they dwell
Across the pages
One from the other
Lamentations and Praise

I will raise a hand to wipe a tear
And I will raise another to point to that which is worthy of praise

Side by side
Prayers running over the cup
I am weak and can barely lift it to my
Two lips
One whispers grief
One praise

Lift the cup for me
And I will life the cup for you
I am drying tears
They mix with sweat on the brow of the mourners

We cannot turn the page, yet
We are called into a time of grief
Joy will come in the mourning

Soulful Sunday

My eyes have seen the light
Dancing like flashing Christmas lights
At Lowe’s
Late August
Walking on water, sparkling
Diamonds under glass at the jeweler’s on King
Twitchy  groom making his selection
From the choice of rocks and chips
Mid-day fireworks on display
Fall jump-started herself
Showed up early
Sunshine played a symphony
He says
It is the prettiest day of the year
Until you both realize he is right
Subjective, perspective
We pass almost no other
Just we two
For awhile
After we sang
“They’ll know we are Christians By Our Love”
Standing in an old white church
Could it be this includes
The way we love God art
This was before  he placed
The gifts from the sea
Battered up
Into the pan
Caught with his hands
This was before
Statistics on the couch
And feeding the dog
At 17 you can choose math over
And we missed all the fuss and grinding
On the boob tube
Mother called it that
Now maybe it really is
This was before night fell
With a blackened promise
Of healing hands and new Monday’s
Come after soulful Sunday’s
That preacher sure did nail it
Words about lifting up
If Sunday had hands, a pitcher’s  grip
A steady grasp
Toned biceps
And a six-pack
I could swear it raised me up
You are something else.

the nets - mcvl at  night the mary margaret

Joining Laura Boggess,  Jen ,  Heather and Michelle

A Southern Psalm


A Southern Psalm

Lord have mercy
You are so very good to me
Ya’ll know He knows what we need
But I get stuck like pluff mud in what I want.

Lord have mercy
What would I do without You.

You save me from myself
Over and over again, more ways and times
Than I can shake a stick at
You delight in me and straighten my path
You make my way straighter than
A Tri-Delta’s flat-ironed hair.

Yes ma’am, His love is unfailing
Just like clockwork
He faithfully keeps watch over me
The grandfather clock in the front hall
Passed down to me, tick tock-ing away
Day after day
The one that’s been in my family for years
Has nothing on You, oh Lord.

You lighten my load
I can bring all the heaviness of my day to You
You alone take the weight of my life on yourself
And I rise up like hot biscuits dripping in butter, then soaked in honey
Fresh from the oven
Because of who You are.

Glory be You are great and good
Worthy of praise
I rise up and lay down
In a bed of fresh clover under the Magnolia tree
I gaze up
Look left and look right
The whole world
Down to the red clay earth is full of your glory.

There is not a secret family recipe
More precious than You.
Not one handed down
Not The best pound cake recipe in the whole world.
More valuable and treasured
Are You, oh God
A million times a million more treasured is Your loving kindness.

There is not a day that goes by
That I am not reminded of your unfailing grace
Everything I have is from your hand
Oh Lord, have mercy
My red solo cup of sweet tea spills over with your

Your gifts are too precious
Too numerous to name
Even the yellow lab
And the black one too
Oh heck, I can’t forget the chocolate lab
Even they are counted among your gifts to us.
What joy you give your children.
We are blessed, so blessed.
I am not even kidding.

A gold embossed monogrammed  thank you card falls short
Where do I go and what do I give
To express my thanks adequately to You.

Lord, I give you my life.
Lord I give you my love.

Lord have mercy, You are a great and mighty God.
I could sing Amazing Grace at the top of my lungs
All five verses or is it four
From the front pew
And it would fall short of the praise due You.

But I will try
Until the day I die
To tell You
You bless my socks off

And  Lord
Have mercy on me
When I fall short
And let you down

Forgive me my sins
And help me make a fresh start
Fresh as sheets flapping on the backyard clothes line
I want my soul to be with you
Clean and shiny
As grandmother’s  just polished silver on Christmas Eve
I want my transgressions washed away
Down the drain with Ivory soap bubbles.

I lay down my life
At the foot of your cross
And I will tell you one thing
You are good, so very, very  good.
Precious is Your name to me.

Can I get a loud Amen.
To the ends of the Earth
And back again
The Amens and Hallelujah choruses
Echo again and again
Down the white picket fence lined streets
Every heart shall turn itself to praise.

Precious Lord
Have mercy
Yes sir
You are worthy of praise and glory.
And all God’s people say a loud Amen.
Yes ma’am they do.


Joining Emily and her community for Imperfect Prose

and Jennifer for #tellhisstory


the nets - mcvl at  night the mary margaretGiddy-Up

Yesterday I felt the sad creep up
Mixed with confusion
Draped around my soul
I swallowed my tears, the hurt in my inside
Places, deep and dark
Pushed them down
With all my might

And all the while I wrestled
Joy was creeping up and in
Waiting to soothe me with her balm
It was the words of a sister friend
And news waiting to rock me gentle
Balm on gaping throbbing

And faith restored in me
In eyes that met
In love standing on the dock
Reminding me of love
That overcomes
Screamed the breeze
That brought the joy
That raised me up again

And I recalled the moments giddy
Cheered me up
A flash of scattered happy
At small and wondrous things
And I recall the look of kids at work
Hanging over sides of boats
Beside a mender of the nets

So I raise mine
In hopes of catching giddy joy
Even while I stand graveside today at two
Especially there
Remembering that life will always
Bring me joy
If I raise my net high, in the breeze when it blows hard
When it comes gentle
While I raise my net
Untangling sadness from the threads
Breathing deep of sweet forgiveness

And reminding and remembering
The days of giddy-up
Are here
When I stand beside the grave
At two o’clock today