Monday, June 07, 2010

Forging Ahead

"Forging Ahead" appears in the Upper Room book, Rhythm and Fire.

I wrote this poem seven years ago, the last time our church was in transition, as a thank you to Rev. Tarah Trueblood and in recognition of the difficult work she undertook in her first pastorate. It seems appropriate, as my congregation faces another transition with my retirement from pastoral ministry to focus on my MFA. A new configuration for ministry in Boulder Creek is still being dreamed up and formed, and it's stretching folks.

Forging Ahead

We’re all being hammered down
smashed flat, quivering red and molten
like silver in refiner’s fire

We’re all being punched and pushed
squashed, spun, dizzy and thrown
like clay on potter’s wheel

Maybe we should’ve kept our mouths shut
kept our noses in our books
kept our hands in the dishwater
kept our feet on the gas pedal
kept our lives settled, stable
and possibly, doubtfully, content

But we had to do it, look up from
our circumscribed lives
remove our rose colored glasses
pry our fingers from their death grip
around familiar’s throat
and belt out those words

Melt me, Mold me

Who would’ve known asking for God
would be this messy, this ugly
leaving us purple and bruised
dumped into the unknown
Who would’ve known we’re not in control

Whether we like it or not
whether we admit it or not
God always had hands all over us
fingers poking and prodding
hot breath in our faces
whispering, shouting
when we lost attention

You’re Mine

So there we were and here we are
forging ahead sharpening our trust
kneading our faith

How else are we going to become silver forks
spearing meaty portions of justice for the poor
How else are we going to become cooking pots
steaming with hope to feed the hungry

How else are we going to rise up and follow
telling our stories of transformation
from mound of slimy clay to communion cup
from chunk of ore to steeple bell

How else are we going to stare straight
into the world’s face
shift our weight in the Creator’s palm
and cry

Fill me, Use me


CarolLynnPark said...

Cathy, I love this poem. I particularly needed it today when I'm doubting my ability to write a good story.

Anonymous said...


I remember this poem the first time around--how it gripped me and spoke with such raw truth. All these years later, it is still just as powerful--and relevant.

I am praying with you for the transitions in your life and the community at BCUMC.

Tarah Trueblood

Rose said...

Hi. I was reading the winning stories of Bookshop Santa Cruz's contest on its website, and found yours. It was the only one I liked. In fact, it made me cry. I liked it so much I Googled your name to see if I could find any more of your writing and here you are. I'm looking forward to exploring the other pieces you have linked on your blog.