Laura at dVerse asks us to reinterpret one of several Chinese poems. I’ve chosen to reimagine “Stopping at Incense Storing Temple” by Wang Wei.
When in the concatenation of bells that toll I stop at dusty pools of ghost-bearing scents The rains having come and gone, ashes remain The acrid smoke of the dead stings my eyes Choking the young, ridiculing the old I turn away to the bowers of forest glades Where You await storing love’s incense And I like a wanderer home at last Stand strong in Your warm embrace Escaping the dragon of the past To rise with You to eternal joy.
A friend’s betrayal. The first crack in the heart. A child’s heart. Swallowing a sob, a gurgle hard against the throat. A nudiustertian heartbeat ago. The storm settles.
That friendship went the way of trains into the sunset, trains with Hercules propellers in a steampunk show, and a suddenly shrunken figure, lean with knowing, stiffening its back against the world.
The heart armored, now slow to trust, still easily betrayed, always anticipates the moment of departure, inexorable in its movement like the ticking of a clock, yet attuned to distant trumpets ushering in the dawn.
Frost-browned blooms Knew caskets of ice Await life.
When I first saw, “Servant,” the #JusJoJan prompt for today, the first thought that popped into my head was, “Christ Jesus,” and then the words of Phiippians 2:5-11*(see below). My quandary? M’s prompt word: “Twin-engine turbines.” But it proved to be a blessing in disguise as it gave me the shape of the story: a parable. Serendipity!
Our Life, His Work: A Parable
–What are you making, child? the Servant asked. Everywhere metal sheets and rotor blades lay in a tangle of wires. –See this twin-engine turbine? The boy held up a photo. My 3-D printer makes it simple. –Simple, eh? The boy looked around before answering. -Well, it’ll just take a few days, maybe weeks …. maybe months …. His voice trailed away. It looked simpler when I got started. But somewhere along the way, I lost track of what I was meant to do. He took in the tangled mess around him and finally the shiny aircraft in his photograph. His face fell. –Well, now, said the Servant, it will be a grand thing when it’s done. Maybe you could use a little help. Mine, for example. The boy looked up, his face suddenly alight with hope and renewed confidence. –Really? Will you help? Please. The Servant looked down at the expectant face, his own lit with Love. –It’s why I came, child.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2: 5-11(ESV)
Michelle's January 3, 2021 Writing Prompt: "Twin-engine turbines"
Linda's Just Jot It for January 3rd, "Servant"
Come, magical sprites of sea, land, and air Dreamlifters that transport us far from care Belugas, or bluebells, or a child and a mare My speech to you is dire and fair:
Dire, because of last year’s dismal fare Of health and crises that cause us to beware Threat of contagion from death’s lair;
Fair, because your songs lay bare The beauties of God’s mercies and care Shown in his Son whom we boldly dare Address as our brother, Lord and Savior, Whose love we eagerly want to share Aware that we can rejoice in this new year With all those whose burdens he helps to bear.
My Christmas cheer will last the year Though Santa’s hat fall off my ear To be picked up and packed away Or left abandoned, chewed and frayed. What difference thus to outward fur When hat on head makes not the cur But hope in heart is what gives cheer To puppy barks of “Happy New Year!”
As a child, Christmas decorations made her sick with excitement. Now they made her sick for those gone missing since the lock-down. They showed up in little boxes the home projected onto a screen, but she knew they were impersonators. She watched, but refused to speak to those teary-eyed strangers. Her own family was naturally cheerful, even boisterous. “Lord, where are they?” Every day she recited their names, rolling them in her mouth like hard candy. Every day there was less of them to remember. But Christmas came. Her heart burned. There was a Light to investigate in the heavens.
Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember
Sonnet 73: That Time of Year (Shakespeare)
That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. In me thou see’st the twilight of such day As after sunset fadeth in the west, Which by and by black night doth take away, Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest. In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, As the death-bed whereon it must expire, Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by. This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
Word count: 100
written for Rochelle's Friday Fictioneers
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Letter to No Lycidas
No Lycidas are you, my son, no watery bier nor desert grave holds you. But in the crisp of autumn air, your countenance lights a distant town, another’s home a place where you from me remain. Yet I wonder, pray one day I’ll see you striding back to see me here; that one day that old mailbox will find you on a daily chore or whether the woods beyond will gape to hear your lusty songs of praise to the God of miracles and a Son who freeing the soul from evil design heals faultless the sutures of the mind.