Poems by Michael Chanteur  

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How Great Thou Art (revisited)

 As though You could hide behind a snowflake
Or a fallen leaf, or gust of wind
As thou anyone could miss Your Presence
In the most minute leaf or tiniest flower.

 Virtually shouting Your Existence
In the smallest and largest creatures
In the complexity of life, the vastness of space.
No one is that deaf they cannot hear Your Voice.

 Nor any so blind they cannot see Your Face
Cleverly hidden in the clouds, the mountains,
Newly fallen snow, tempestuous surf.
Eyes see what the mind may obscure.

 There You are, so evident  to all
Who take the time of heart to see,
To listen, to ponder, to reflect on
A Perfect God hidden in imperfection.


Love

Love is like the wind, affecting all it touches,
Moving all with which it comes into contact.
Love is like the sun and rain,
Causing everything to grow.

Love frees us from the intellect
And its constraints.
Love reverses the logic of the balance,
So that a little of something
Is worth more than a lot.

Love explains life.
It is creative and generous.
It is both as invisible as,
And as powerful as, the wind.

It is the underpinning of all life
And all matter.
Love is a healing balm,
An ointment for the wounds of souls.
It binds our wounds and makes us whole.

Love is both intangible and palpable.
It is the yeast that makes bread rise,
And the bread that feeds the hungry.
It is true nourishment for the soul-
The real manna from heaven.


Love is sweet, love is strong.
Love pours itself out on us like a libation.
We soak it up like sponge does water.
It heals and enriches and makes things right again.
Love enlivens us.


Love is the growing grass,
And the thunderous surf.
Love is a calm, sunny day,
or a swirling tempest.
It is the clouds that bring the rain.
Love is the rainbow and the waterfall.


Love asks for nothing, but gives all.
It is as generous as the sun with its rays.
No one has to ask Love for anything,
Because it pours out its gifts on us,
Like a torrent, without end.

Love is the stuff of dreams and fairy tales,
And happily-ever-afters.
Love is a force carrying us all along
Throughout our lives.

Love is like a giant cloud enveloping all,
Soothing all, comforting all,
And buoying us all up.
It is like a gentle hand guiding us along.

Love is our milieu, our medium,
That which we breathe in,
And in which we live.
Love is a vast spiritual ocean in which
We are all immersed.


Shall We Go Now?

Shall we go down now,
To the places of rest?
To the calm , blue sea,
Or leaf-strewn path?

Shall we go to places of repose,
Where the soul can rest,
Where the heart can live in peace,
Where the songs of birds are the
Only sounds to be heard?

Shall we go to ancient places,
Those which nature has set aside
So long ago, for restless souls?
Have we had enough of pain,
And stress and sorrow,
Is it now time to rest?



 

  Paradox

what a paradox
the march sun is hot
while the air is ice
spring, approaching ,yet hidden
winking slightly to us, unawares.

We wish for winter to end
having had enough of bleakness
we anticipate the spring, though
have not done much to prepare

then, suddenly, it is warm
and the buds open, flowers appear
in a way, our souls are still frozen,
and we are resistant to the light

 the winter has chilled our hearts
and souls, and we fear the warmth
will thaw us too fast, so that
ice crystals will pierce our heart

Rope of Smoke

 It binds. That thick white rope
Of ethereal  stuff binds us.
Like a metal cable, but nebulous,
The rope of emotion binds us all.

 We cannot escape it, though we try.
A vapor, a cloud, yet stronger than any
Rope that could exist.
It holds us fast, even as we try to escape.

Not as vital as that first binding cord,
Perhaps, but history is made of its fibers.
That thick, white rope, twisted for strength,
Holding us to people we dislike, jobs we hate.

Like a super glue, ever sticky, ever fast.

We cannot escape.

Natureís Soul 

 Now I understand
 Nature has no life without Man
Just as relationships have no life without love.

God created the world for Man
For us, to give it life.
In a  way, it does not exist alone.

We give nature meaning and truth.
For all its beauty, it needs us to see.
We are the soul of the earth.

 Just as bread becomes God
Because He says so,
Nature transforms when we say so.

 Blind, totally blind, are those
Who do not imbue nature with soul.
Natureís worth is our appreciation

On Holy Wednesday

And Jesus said: Father they are not worth saving;
Shall I die on a cross for the profane and insane?
Am I not your Son, was I not with you from the start?
Why sacrifice Your Own for the hopelessly lost?

And God said: Jesus, You are a test, to see

If they could love Me and Life and Self.

They could not. You are the proof of that.
They kill the godly for the ungodly.
 

Can I then just come home?

Judas is at my door, and infidels abound.

Can I not just rise up and be gone,

And not be raised on the scaffold of the cross?
 

Do not think that I am not tempted .

You are my beloved and they despise you.

I would raise you up without the cross

But you are to make a point.
 

What point is worth my Blood,

And what decree my Flesh?

Did I not preach as You told.

And warn them of their folly?
 

Yes, and they did not listen,

and, of course never will.

They should die in torment, not you.

Were that it only that easy.
 

What could be easier than justice?

What simpler than pain?

Let them, please, bear their sins,

Not your Beloved Son.

Listen to Me Jesus, My Son:

All the earth awaits you.

Not just the wretched damned,

But all of Life as well.
 

And so I go to do your will,

Though it means an unjust death.

One more time: if this cup can pass

From me undrinkable, let it be.

 

Up a Level

Up a level.
That's what we all have to do.
Go up a level from where we are.
Does not seem difficult,
And yet, its the hardest thing to do,
Base as we are, grounded by our desires.
So hard to move up, to transcend.
Itís a struggle; we were all warned.
Hard to move up, when itís so easy
To go down.

We are all called to a go up a level,
But we seldom listen.
The Sirens sing so well,
We are slow to wax our ears,
And tie ourselves to the mast.
If we did, we might just see
Someone at the helm
We did not expect.
 


Being There

ďF8 and be thereĒ; now I understand
Being there is the goal of life
We photograph to capture a moment
But really we want to ďbe thereĒ

We want to merge with existential bliss
Into the fabric of nature
We want to be a part, be a whole,
Somehow participate in it all.

It is our basic drive, which drives the rest
If we could only embrace forever
The essence of life, the fount of knowledge,
Drink it all in without ever stopping.

So we toil and labor
Often at the mundane and meaningless
In the hopes that one day we shall
Finally succeed, and finally be
There
 

 

December

Asleep, that is what it is.
Although the landscape looks dead,
It is not, it is alive and well,
just dormant.

Scratch a sapling, and it is green.
Even beneath the dry weeds
Seeds nurturing life are bedded down
asleep

Winter is a break from the buzz of summer
A time to withdraw to the core
to gain repose from a busy season,
a time of rest

The cold and snow do not destroy,
for nature has learned how to cope,
the apparent dryness of bark and branch
a mask for sleep

We would do well to shed our leaves
and flowers and such at this time also,
and revisit our core, our inner space,
and rest.

Poem for November

Iím glad you came.
I needed something to match
the barrenness of my soul.

The flowers were too much for me,
even the fall leaves too pretty
it just did not feel right.

I tired of the unending beauty,
the extravagance of the light seasons.
the gloom of November fits better.

All that gray, the newly bare trees,
the sullen sky, heavy with rain or snow,
the fierce, cold wind, all more accurate.

Now I can relax, in the dim abode
of the lifeless season, now I can find
a sort of bitter peace in pain

Poem for September

Itís always a bittersweet time,
the end of summer, the darkening of days,
harvest and plenty amidst decay.

We hate to see the death of leaves,
the over-ripened fruit still on the vine.
We shiver at the newly chilled air,
as day and night trade places.

It is a sad time, a paradoxical time,
with brilliant , firework colors being only
a swan song of another summer.

Hard to take, like any loss.
We know spring will come again,
As it always has, with new growth and new life.
But loss is never easy, never trivial.

The death is real-those leaves will never rise,
that summer never repeat itself the same way.
If only we could hold on, and not say goodbye.
Of course we canít and shouldnít even try.

The Cross at Equinox

As we carry our baggage
into another winter, another
dark season, after the respite of summer.
The soon-bare trees become our cross.

We look at them and shiver,
and maybe think of another tree,
another time, another cross.

On our backs we carry the sins of others:
those who blamed us for abuse from them,
those who hated our lives for no reason,
or one only a child could understand.

Once the warm pseudo-love of summer goes,
once again we must face the darkness
which is both within and without.

Those wounded, crippled souls,
who, like a trapped animals, can
only snarl and hiss and curse,
at would-be rescuers.

Itís why they crucified Him, all good,
because their hate had no where to go.
Salvation was an offense to them.

And today, the Sanhedrin, the Roman soldiers,
the jeering crowds are all too present,
ready to crucify anyone daring
to rob them of their pain.

 

The Magic Time

The Magic Time
Itís Christmas.
Godís Time
We have all been waiting
and now it is here
red and green
the colors of hope

Itís here. Christmas
Something magical.
But, like a butterfly,
Escapes us if we try too hard
To catch it.

The Christmas season,
So full of potential
for joy and pain.
Escape, we try to escape,
to our misfortune

Cold, snow, bleakness.
We love it. Why?
Because only in desolation
do we finally see the Truth

I am drunk, drunk with the
Elixir of hope and love
Drunk with the hope
for a better future.
A happy New Year.

So much pain. So much sorrow,
That which was gold, turns to lead
In reverse alchemy.

The Savior is born.
Emmanuel .God is with us.
But do we see, do we understand
What the greeting of the godhead means?
No, we do not, and never will

Inebriated with the stuff of life,
We forget the Creator.
We forget the Cosmos
In our sight, but beyond our grasp.
The Light shone in the darkness
and the darkness could not comprehend it.
How can we know the Living God?
How can we see the One Who comes
in the Name of the Lord?

We cannot see, cannot comprehend
The One, True God.
Oh, that we could.