Tidal Gravity

Ivan Aivazovski

The moon’s gravity causes the tides.
It pulls the water away from two sides of Earth,
which pushes it toward the other two sides.
Something one sixth the size of our planet
shoves the oceans around.
The movie Interstellar showed what it would be like
if a supermassive black hole was the moon instead.
Waves thousands of feet high make Earth’s puny hurricanes
look like ripples in a puddle.
What if the Radiance descending on the watery tumult
spoke the Moon, spoke Gargantua
(and millions like them across the universe)
into being?
What if that Gravity treated the waters as a nesting hen?




The Bridge

Suspended Bridge at Fall Creek Falls State Park
Near Pikeville, TN

I don’t do heights.
I remember trying to stand one scaffolding level up,
and my Dad having mercy on me by telling me to
get down.

I was probably shaking so hard it made the whole thing unsteady.

And the Sky Flyer.
A cross between a bungee jump and a swing,
terrifying passengers (me) eighty feet above
Pigeon Forge.

I meant it when I told my (then future) wife I’d never do it again.

I wanted to teach my daughter a lesson.
(And maybe myself one, too.)
I agreed to go across the suspended bridge at Fall Creek Falls
for her.

It felt like I was walking across the Tacoma Narrows.

The trouble is, once across,
you either have to walk several miles or come back.
I came back across one white-knuckled, hurry-up-and-get-across step,
For her.

(And me.)



Note: the photograph above was taken by my wife. Because still photography only captures a single moment in time, it gives the illusion that the bridge is steady. I distinctly recall it never being anything less than 45 degrees at any point of my harrowing crossing. Just saying.

The Beacons of Life Are Dark

Like the Egyptian midnight at noon,
the beacons of life are dark.
Wave your hand in front of your face all you want,
at most, you’ll feel the wind.
The beacons of life are dark.

It’s the fourth day since the battle begun.
The beacons of life are dark.
Some are hoping for light in the east tomorrow,
but who knows whether we’ll make it that long.
The beacons of life are dark.

Hope for a White Rider leading singing, slaying armies:
The beacons of life are dim.



See this post for the original line.

Reprise (Week of December 2, 2018)

Poison Oak
A cautionary tale about what not to do when encountering leaves of three. Let the rhyming do the work.

Dark Before Dusk
Honestly, the only debate left is whether to stay at Standard Time or Daylight Time (Daylight Time is the correct answer, by the way). No one debates whether to end Daylight Savings Time.

Lovely (Haiku)
This is based in part on Andy Crouch’s wonderful keynote at Hutchmoot 2018 about the “non-usefulness” of art. (There’s also a hefty dose of my philosophy minor in there, too.)

The prompt was to write a protest poem. An alliterative appreciation of the moody monk’s mallet-mashed melée.

Being interrupted is usually infuriating (it is for me, anyway). But sometimes, interruptions can be welcome.


I stomp all over my own very last nerve,
so I completely understand that You’d feel the sa—

I get so aggravated at my own screwups
(on top of everyone else’s, tbh)—

I’ve given up on me so many different times,
so I’m surprised that You’ve lasted until n—

Anyone else would have been tired of me
long before now, so You’re probably ti—




Tetzel’s taxes triggered a tectonic shift:
Repentance is true penitence, not pennies for shrift.
The whole of holiness is hidden in Him
Who graciously gives gospel, good news, to the ends

Of the earth, erstwhile empire of evil intent
Now native to a nation of newborns bent
On goodness, gladly giving glory to God
Their Savior, strumming strings and singing psalms.

Protesting the papal pilfering and plunder
Of goods and gold, grifting the grandeur
Of Peter’s Prince for personal pleasure:
Martin, the mallet-wielding monk.