Waves

We created oceans with waves,
and I know that doesn’t make sense, for sounds to come
before vibrations and light before the rising sun,
but everything was seismic to us.

When I think of the first time I saw
you I can’t see past the sand particles sitting
on your right cheek. Each grain
held onto the curvature

of your face and before I knew it I was
buried knee deep, flipping and flapping
my arms like a child awkwardly astounded
that you were made up of atoms

and particles that were smaller and of more
abundance than God’s poetic dirt
stuck to your sunscreen skin.

I felt big when I was with you.
Not domineering or powerful, not overbear-
ing or oppressive – just important.

Yet if anything I should have felt small.
Your ocean heart constantly
brought in a tide that forced me to swallow
my salty pride and listen to a sea of

whispers that could only be heard
when I stopped picking up seashells and
pressing them to my ear. There
were other things I needed to hear, something

different than a back-and-forth
reflection of waves inside of my head.

And so little by little, wave on wave, you taught
me how to use my hands. With shovels and shells we built
castles out of worn down rock, making the
defeated strong and sturdy again.

I felt taller when I was with you,
and I know I said smaller, however this
statement is just as true because tides
eventually knock down tyrants’

castles and the strong waves knocked me down
too. But every fall into the sea
left me with more seaweed between my toes,

salt dried to my skin, and another chance
for my legs to walk to shore
and stand again.

To think that I thought the oceans
carried the blue waves and then pushed
them, telling them where to go;
what to do; who to be.

I now know it takes the small
to make the big:

One wave
can make a sea.

xx, Hannah

 

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Words

As I was waiting to get my coffee the guy standing next to me complimented my skirt. In return I said thank you and as I walked away, he did too. Our conversation turned into small talk and in a state of feeling entirely antisocial I immediately spotted a seat, set down my coffee, pulled out my computer, and got my headphones out. With no other free tables around I looked up after claiming my seat and there he was: “Can I pull up a chair and sit here?” he asked. “Of course,” I answered. But in sync with my seemingly inviting response I pulled my headphones over my ears and began to write. I was not in the mood to talk. I wanted to be left alone.

I pulled open a poem that I had started to write a few days earlier and as I tried to concentrate on syntax, on sound, on what I wanted to feel and what I wanted to say, I noticed the boy sitting next to me continually glancing at me. To make him realize I noticed he was looking at me, I turned my eyes and head towards him.

“What are you writing?” “A poem.”

This caught his attention. Explaining that I was writing a poem for the heck-of-it (why else would you write poetry?) he told me that he performed spoken poetry at Spiderhouse, a coffee shop nearby that puts on poetry slams every Tuesday night. From then on he had my interest. We talked about poetry, about books, about the sounds and juxtapositions of words; I even let him read what I was writing. My poem, coincidentally, was about words.

How ironic is it that all it took were words for my mood of apathy to become one of joy? Even though I was writing about words, I did (do) not fully understand the power that they possess.

To that end, here is a poem about Words, their power, and my inability to understand them fully or as they were intended:

In the beginning was the Word
and before the Word all was black.

Light didn’t roll off the tongue because there
was not a vessel to carry it
from the dark hole of our mouth
into the sea of words
that are the beacon of our thoughts and
our feelings; the ships riding the chaos
into the calm of sense and reason.

There were not groans or mumbles.
The waves did not smack because
they could not yet imitate the lips of
God in a holy thrash of “Let there
be light.”

But then there was.

And with the I am was the was: a sea that
is when it was not, a sound that was the
purest of silences that it was
not even silence at all, spoken by
the one who was before He said He is.

With three words phrases became
twisted and the ocean learned to
speak, slapping salty sentences
like palms after the job is done.

Though the job wasn’t done.

With a tide of words He continued
to speak and words learned to pile
into a mountain or to sink into a valley,
words learned how to be soft, they
learned to be tumultuous and heavy.

A crescendo of “goods” He sang,
and with the upward swoop of His
voice the birds he created. Sounds
made sounds. They chirped. They trilled.

To take care of the birds that composed
songs He created man: Adam and Eve.
But from the words He spoke, Adam and
Eve created a completely different tune to
the harmony of His sea.

Unlike the waves that learned to roar
and the birds that learned to whistle,
man spoke with “I, and me, and my” –
learning to speak for himself.

“Free,” Adam said. “Free!” echoed Eve.
“Me” they shouted together. “Me.” “Me.” “Me.”

Free was beautiful until it was not.
A soft, translucent wave becoming dirty
as man delved into its purity, running much
like the pollution that ran through man’s veins.

The world became black. Man dirtied
the Earth with his dust that he shed. No longer
was it “good.” Could the words “good”
even be uttered by human mouths again?

Yet something in man’s tongue
still created light like trying to light
a match. Watered down words and
phrases still possessed a rearing roar
when man said “God” instead of “me.”
Words became much more.

There was still the power of God
when man spoke like the current’s choral,
taking boats back to shore, swaying
towards the light —

The light.

In the beginning was the Word
and in the Word there was light.

Woman of God

Looking at myself in the
bathroom mirror; make me
a woman of God. Closing
my fists and beating them hard

against the wood; make me a
woman of God. Yelling
at brother with slams and
stomps; make me a woman
of God.

Lying on the floor and lying
to myself, make me a woman of God.

How many times have I cried, my
chest falling to kiss my knees? Saying,
wait, I am not yet ready to give
you the dough to mold these cookie
cutter dreams.

They have not risen like yeast,
and so I continue to cling. I stand
at the dirty sink wishing
that beauty would stain
these scorched and tired cheeks.

Never have I asked for joy, I tell
God He doesn’t understand, when I close
my fists and I push away the palm of
His hand. “Don’t you get it? These
hands were not made to be lifted

in praise, only to fight the hard
fight in the heat, to press and
press away.” So I yell at mother
and brother over dinner, again,

looking at my Father as he breaks
the heavenly bread. I say: “Can’t
you see I was made for this?” Made
for cursing, made for lying,
made for living …
and made for dying?

Dying, dying, dead –
He shouts stop! To these baker’s
thoughts in my head. Life will
continue even when your hands do
not have the strength to knead
and bring manna to the table.

No more broken hallelujahs,
no more pushing Him away, He
promises all of the hot and heavy burns will
stop if I quit the fighting and let Him stay.

Today, He will made me
a woman of God, he promises;

Yes, today.

“But it is under one condition;
you must let go of all you love. You will
see, my daughter, that the
kisses of flour that disappear from your
forehead, the fights with the dough,
they are not enough. No, I want to

rejoice over you with singing
and crown you with jewels of emerald
in gold. Call you bride and beloved —
call you beauty, my own.”

And so I open my hands, let
the cuts and stains show, I do
not fight; I let him hold me.

A Father embracing
His daughter, now
this must be Holy.

I give up the tears
and slowly I give up the rest too —
the anger, the bitterness, the parts
of my heart I have sculpted
with my own worn hands.

He begins to remake me and I see
it myself, wisdom flows from my lips
like honey. My palms
are turned open in praise. I am
no longer wearing an apron stained in yolk,

but a dress that yokes me to Him
on my wedding day.

Make me a woman of God I asked
and faithfully my Lord gave, my tears
of anger into gladness, anointed oils
and joy. So I stand at the stone
kitchen counter and thank my God,

I thank Him by placing my dusty
hands on the ground, letting my chest
meet knees tired from standing
on the hard wooden floor.

I pray: “These bakers rags have
been worked into righteousness, You
have shown me your
grace. Before I was a weak and tired woman

yet now, I do not fight when you call my name.
A woman of God I am when I roll
the dough, when I line the pan, when I burn
my hand against the sides of the oven
from time to time, again … and again.

I will not answer in curses, and I will not reply
if you call me baker, or beauty, or fear,
so when you call me, I ask that you simply
call me daughter.

Because now I whisper it, (no I shout it!)
I yell it proud, I cannot help it,
the humming oven, the smacking
of brother’s insults, the image looking back in the
stupid mirror must hear it and hear it loud:

I am a woman of God.

xx, Hannah

To Sister, From Sister

This poem is all of the things I want my sisters to know as daughters of Christ. Take it as a letter from me, your sister, to you, my sister. But keep in mind: as a sister, as a daughter, this is just as much for me as it is for you. —

Dear sister,
please never forget
that the first person to
hold you was your Father.

I know the doctor’s cold
hands were the first
to press into your malleable skin,
the first to press their milky way
fingerprints into your back,
urging you to take a breath into
the fit of life,

but there was a man before
the day that you were welcomed by
fluorescent lights, mother’s cry and
sheets of white. There
was a day before your cry
sounded it’s first Hallelujah.

Sister, there was a time, and
I know you won’t be able to remember
it, that you were spoken to
life, before your feet ever hit
the Earth’s hard surface.

Before your heart had a beat,
before the dust dirtied and bruised
your just-washed feet, there
was a time when you were
alive.

A time ago, the maker and keeper of time,
your Father, made your forest eyes
and mahogany hair with the
same breath He spoke the stars
into existence.

When you did not exist in
Hallelujah cries, you existed
in the dust that was left in the palm
of God after His hand smoothed
the skin of the Earth.

In Adam and Eve, you were there,
but sister, you won’t remember. I
promise you were there:

When He promised Abraham
an inheritance as numerous as the stars,
you were among the cluster. When God
warned Noah of the flood, you were there
in the loving kiss of the violent waves.

When Jesus cried “It is finished,” you
were there alongside Mary at the feet of
Jesus weeping.

You simply do not remember it.

Listen, my dear sister. I ask you to
believe me – you were there. As God
blessed Abraham, He was blessing you.
At the moment God saved Noah from
the storm, He was saving you from His
righteous wrath.

As Jesus bled grace that turned
Mary’s bloodied garments to the purest
of whites, you were there.

Sister, the creator held you
before you were held by His creation.
You were given His blessing
before you could bless. You were in His
grace before you ever needed it.

Do not disregard that your beginning
started with an end to
the era of darkness and a beginning
of the eternal continuance of light.
You are, you were, you will be,
His light.

Though there will be days
when the world is dark and your
eyes are closed shut like
they were in the vacuum of your
mother’s womb, remind yourself,
on the day He created light
He knew you would
cast a shadow of existence
in it’s gleam.

My dearest sister, He
will eliminate the darkness and illuminate
His blessing, mercy, and grace in you.

Remember it: you hit the light
before the doctor hit your back.
You were held.

xx, Hannah

To the Farmer’s Daughter

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I was staring at myself in the mirror, comparing myself to the beautiful people that I am so often jealous of when this poem came to me. Or rather, when His words came to me. This is a poem about getting our hands dirty as daughters of Christ and becoming real beauty as He molds us to be more like Him:

How many hours have you spent
tending your head of hay
when your hands could have been
getting dirty and

strong. Daughter, the harvest
is plentiful and I have
called you (my worker) to press
your hands into the soul

of the Earth and knead it
to life. You are woman because your
hands are skilled and strong:
I’ve seen you rise

like the yeast that excites
the dough you have pounded
with your fists. It is okay to be
angry, the work I have given

you is not easy. I have asked
you to pick the thorns
until your fingers bleed
and the ugly is made beautiful.

I want your hands to be
as strong as the carpenters that
has carved you into
a vessel that will water the plants

I have placed in your lot. Daughter,
your beauty will fade (and these
flowers you have nurtured will,
too) but trust that the work

within you is as strong
as the hands I am giving you
to do my work. I will make
you beautiful in my image. I will

give you the mane of a lion,
the strength of a warrior, and the
delicacy of a daughter. I have
not forgotten you are my daughter.

Because you are woman, I know
it well how I have made you. Your
tears I have given you to water
those in dry soil, your small (but firm)

hands I have given you to tug away
the weeds that cannot be easily
reached, your lips of honey I have
given you to speak wisdom

with sweetness. My daughter,
I have made you to do more work
than to prick and pull at your petals
until you are the most beautiful

flower in the vase. No, I have given
you these hands to serve. The rest
of your pruning will be done
as I do the perfect work in you. You

are altogether beautiful. Go! Do
the work I have given you. I will make
all the old (hatred, jealousy, selfishness) new.
As you work for me, I am doing

a work in you. You will blossom.
You are blossoming. And I (your Father)
am so proud of you.

(Psalm 139, Philippians 1:6, Isaiah 40:8, Matthew 9:37-38, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Genesis 1:27)

xx, Hannah

P.S. A big thanks to my friend Shelby for always delivering with beautiful photos. If you want to get to know more of her soul, here is the link to her blog. If you want to see more of her work, here is her photography page.