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Joris John Heise

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Waynesville, IL, US

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A Troubled Classroom

by

Joris John Heise

Six souls seethe here, Their hearts alert to hurt--
A tough-guy stance, a leave-me-be--they all
Now sandpaper pained selves. Within, they crawl
From pasts that haunt them, half their years--the dirt,
Achieved, sticks glue-like inside minds. Covert

Arachnids mess in their night-minds, and fall
From mouths prepared to spew or push, to call
For toxic terms, for what’s a daily brawl.

It need not be. The secrets in their souls
Form flowers fading, sky upclouding, hope
Withdrawing like a tide, though spring is near;

If they can only calm, let blooms appear,
Sense care we teachers pour, loose dulling dope--
They yet may smile, to grasp great, golden goals.


Rosemary, on my 65th Birthday

by

Joris John Heise

My age bespeaks deep roots, the day-by-day
Of growth beneath small, slick veneers of seem—
My hidden seeds of search, defining dream-
and-valor, truth and fear, spent work, raw play.

Your presence snips me like a tree, or clay—
Our lives attaching us, in-harness team—
We spread toward stars, to universes beam-
ing energy and joy, a cosmic ray

Igniting whole new lives of love like ours—
That germ, that sperm—it speaks past here and now,
Effecting gorgeous gold delight and powers
For generations yet to live—a Wow!

Of trees and time, past terrors done and spun—
Where faith rebounds, where spirit sought gets won.

Touching a Pond

by

Joris John Heise

He touched the trim surface of the calm pond,
Ripples outward edged unendingly,
Exposing that the clear mirror hid
Spheres of cycles beneath its cool quiet,
Worlds revolving on many scales
Of time and un-time, and lives being lived,
Beyond the bent view we had had of it.

These movings beneath those movements
Wave and ripple, and live there their
Very different lives just like us,
Darting and edgy and motionless
At differing times for differing reasons
Each to preserve itself while
Attending to the next generation.

So heaven happens. its ripples
Moving to hide, revealing to renew
Riches of sludge, mucky gold and slime--
Inseparable in all their wonder
Of motionless mind-wring-ments
That are the quiet voice from Horeb,
And Christmas angels happenin’.

Energized

by

Joris John Heise

The farthest edge of time is you for me—
No quarks, nor pompous Paul abstraction, You
Are flesh, here, now, and true as shagbark tree—
Serene inside and troubled body, too—

Your eyes ring bells for me—you light my night—
Our tread through time braids us—woven threads
Of life and laughter, Joy and charge, delight
And beauty, terror vanquished, peace found, dreads

Dismissed. How lovely God is. Big. Beyond
This realm of daily drudge. Aha!—a flash
Of pleasure pure as child's eyes, and fond
As warm embraces' snuggling glory's splash.

In eye-to-eye, we meet each other's soul
And touch eternity past time, past role.

Falling Asleep at the Wheel

by

Joris John Heise

Like cars with just one gear
So many lives careen
Ahead with run-a-race speed.

We mind no destinations;
We crisis-cope, just keep on drivin’
And day-to-day snatch sleep for moments.

Our world spins beneath us; we’re wheels
That we’ve become on threads
Of time across abysses that try to snatch us.

But, one day we awake from the half-
Awakeness, sense the drowsy self at the wheel.
Become one who looks before

You die.

Hoping to Open Presents Before Christmas

by

Joris John Heise

Each day begins a clean approach to God—
A web spun of new worlds which all appear
Past pain and passion as you find again your lives
That died now rising from their winter sleeps
As shapes of clay re-shape—so God comes back.

Each day repeats: that God fetches Father-love,
That we are waiting His time of accepting gifts’
That each day’s a present-paper-peeling and
Unwrapping of fragile gifts, the making choice
Of what we do with what we got from God.

We’re freedom forming in encircling Hands—
He pokes in pressures, to create a fleshed-
In soul who wakes; He heals our clay-chaos
Which ebbs from jealousy, to stand again in faith,
To be beginnings for each other’s hopes.

We wait—and, waking to His surety, we make
His Second Coming come to wounded needs,
Where being born again is each day’s joy,
And all admit God’s patient Parenthood works
Beyond the dream of gift-wrapped mere things.

A New Day Dawns

by

Joris John Heise

Our world jails us, with thick, pressing cares—
Concerns for kids, for jobs, breast-lumps
Relentless bills, and "will-it-rain soon?"—
Concerns a growing-gray November brings.
These days are the covers we’d prefer
To huddle under at six a.m.
When still another work-day dawns.

Our world, though, stays waiting, in its throes
For betterment, for Who and What
Is Good to strike against dreary cares
And wrestle them into lesser loads
That we can face—their grayness—grab and shoulder them—
Then throw back the covers, shrug off our fears
Each work-day dawn.

Some saint comes with coffee which we need,
And heals our hopelessness with one smiling glance;
Such truth they tell begets a kind of spring-tree
That shelters, shades, and feeds us, too,
Against our night-weights of tired defeats.
Let us be--let us intend to be--that saint,
This work-day dawn
For others.

Spirit is a Root That Implies Growth & Change

by

Joris John Heise

The truest horror lies
Beyond Alien films, vampire books
And Hollywoodish tricks of gruesome artists:

It roots in too-acquiescent selves,
Where Spirit aches to burst forth
With traits of truth and trust.

Root silence can come to front real fear—
So, off we slip from viable prayer--
By apathy denying all our acts their weight.

Good spirits live with sap-threads thickening with spring-love,
Up to energize, from ground-down sources, with hope
To serve, and stay serene within oneself.

Active spirits welcome angels and the stars with awe,
Throw chaff away to keep the way forward wise—
To let dazzling irises do tough growing

Beside old farm homes year by year
Untended but by robins, lambs and lions.
To grow again and again with constant gain!

The Road of Life—Kindness & Peace

by

Joris John Heise

No cars cruised those old stone Roman roads,
Nor traveled down to take in the weird baptizer,
Nor dangled St. Christopher medals to keep them safe.

Each person is a car, though, that treks ahead—
Each life its journey towards the grave where God is,
And ancient they—like us—got lost; some found their way again.

Each occasion we enter, start our cars,
We have a goal to go—or pleasant wish—
And there we run with practiced competence.

To take responsibility--to drive our cars--
Forms just a small fulfillment of our time alive;
But all our hours craft a larger venture—a traveling travail—

To reach ever-realer God beyond the end of hopes.

Healing Family Resentments

by

Joris John Heise

Though families fight, a silent hate might fume
For years, a smoldering fire in some old mine;
It lurks like garlic garnering luscious Cheerios .
Resentments residing through large and little things
In day-to-day moments of care mooded out of shape.

Escape--through healing--waits to help hurt hearts—
A change of course, a true new way
Of road-mapping, restoring us towards Home,
Our Jerusalem, our golden place, our Great Joy,
Wherein lives grow well mollified, reconciled.

It comes to pass by the plow of fresh plots around
Our firmest old beliefs—past old Jewish law
Of eye-for-eye, or rigid Roman rule.
To find that faith that wakes up new days,
And forge forgiveness awake, asleep--

So tired eyes smile and tear up, a harvest happens
Genial sheaves of hugged joy against our hearts.

Deaf, Blind, Crippled—and Young!

by

Joris John Heise

I mind much that many men do not hear—
Old Ted and tired Marion need repeatings,
But not from deafness nor defective ears,
But from cut-short souls so sunk in self
These many years of fear-formed choices—

I mind, too, that untold eyes do not look—
These blind, cruel fledglings and their snippy-voiced parents,
These over-cautious folk who fritter love away
On things over-wanted, on mere presents for Christmas
When Sight would show they simply want right love.

I mind that cripples pamper past wounds—
They prefer a silly-sad, pity-me ego
To all the healing, raising, loving courage
Done definitely, caressingly, dangerously,
Divine presence pressing them to grow onward up.

And I mind my mind that, judging them, misses so much;
I, this blind-deaf-crippled me! Let’s laugh at real leastness,
Hypocrite!.

Turning on - Advent

by

Joris John Heise

Am I an electric radio for God—or not?
To pluck the waves, broadcast then messages intact?
Am I a turned-on, inside-wired flow of
Mystery that taps the near-silent flow of the universe
To send out sounds to calm and stir others?
Do I witness to the wonder of that quiet God
Whose lovingness gushes forth loud on tongues
To talk of cheer, of promise and of joy?

I judge that each of us are cousin-like, John-Baptists,
Who can admire all the worthy other selves,
Who celebrate God’s presence as we turn away
From trust in mere circling-self selves,
(That’s a radio producing so-dumb static—
That keeps itself alone, no fruitful source from outside).

The Good News becomes that dial-fix in which we find
We coax vague pregnant meanings out into air—
Make a music around us independently flowing forth,
Connecting--by immersing us in shared ambience--
A Spirit of song pointing past us--they point to God--
Index arrows indicating The Source of Belovedness.

Advent Thaw

by

Joris John Heise

A cynicism of calm, cold contempt--It underlies
Adult evaluings and casual sniggerings
In front of TVs, over beer, among friends--
These melt around the heart-healthy laughter of God’s truth.

An angry boy, a suspicious man, and
A too-tired husband--and his sore-kneed wife--
Her aching body, woman lonely, and
The girl ground to soul’s ache from lost hope—

These all will sense some summer in their ice
And bitter storms, breathe good breaths of green cedars
Despite their mind, its guilt, their past, those locks
Which past mistakes have frozen on their soul.

The Good News lasts: that all we’ve done despite the falls
Proves prologue to that prime love which melts away
The absence of surprising bliss and gives
Us Christmas gift of happiness, peace enjoyed.

A Mother As a Sign from God

by

Joris John Heise

A person pregnant reveals finesse:
Not of steel, nor of death; more fragile—
A mom maintains the line of signs from God.

Her truth talks past silliness to grace,
Leaps beyond all cold-and-cruel deaths of time,
Or even worse, that screech of ache

That howls horrors deep inside doubt,
That drives us down to those choiceless sins
Wherein our soul dies in vague indifference.

+++

God, though, comes tenderer than lips,
More lovely by far than a child’s listen,
More mighty than all time’s travel in the universe.

We can find such Mom-signs within travail
Where joy, conceived in quiet time of courage clasped,
Can now be born as fresh presence of good achieve.

Such Good from the Father lies tough now, stays hidden,
But ups our downs by steady smile of mystery
With inside life stretched until we burst, born again

Completely.

Computer People and Advent

by

Joris John Heise

Computer-like humans crash
At any sense of Sundays;
Tapped keys, seen screens can’t count
On a true feel of I-Thou and pray-presence;
It’s absence in their soul to face
Another human face--that raw truth;

They’re program people--fit just for
"Just the facts, Ma’am"--such serial logic.
They miss readiness for real mystery,
Reluctant to lose control to larger worlds.

Prayer’s the flavor of your freedom, God,
In some Thou, a you here—
A you who, wrestling true doubts, deep tears,
Allows mutual love and grit-hate--
The are of you—that you and I begin to grasp
The with-ness of a good God,
That Master-Loaf-Warden of Heavenly Hosts—
Beyond the profound bond between mere humans.

Some there are who, reducing readiness
For what God might mean to them,
Build box homes for boxed lives in boxes of their mind
And so refuse rapture and ecstasy—
To be--and to find themselves, dead-end down.
Those, though, who are withing-one-another,
Find perpetual hope to feed and be fed,
Unraveling this world’s worst knots
To easily accept angel messages,
To welcome God--thereby-among-us.

A Mother As a Sign from God

by

Joris John Heise

A person pregnant reveals finesse:
Not of steel, nor of death; more fragile—
A mom maintains the line of signs from God.

Her truth talks past silliness to grace,
Leaps beyond all cold-and-cruel deaths of time,
Or even worse, that screech of ache

That howls horrors deep inside doubt,
That drives us down to those choiceless sins
Wherein our soul dies in vague indifference.

+++

God, though, comes tenderer than lips,
More lovely by far than a child’s listen,
More mighty than all time’s travel in the universe.

We can find such Mom-signs within travail
Where joy, conceived in quiet time of courage clasped,
Can now be born as fresh presence of good achieve.

Such Good from the Father lies tough now, stays hidden,
But ups our downs by steady smile of mystery
With inside life stretched until we burst, born again

Completely.

Computer People and Advent

by

Joris John Heise

Computer-like humans crash
At any sense of Sundays;
Tapped keys, seen screens can’t count
On a true feel of I-Thou and pray-presence;
It’s absence in their soul to face
Another human face--that raw truth;

They’re program people--fit just for
"Just the facts, Ma’am"--such serial logic.
They miss readiness for real mystery,
Reluctant to lose control to larger worlds.

Prayer’s the flavor of your freedom, God,
In some Thou, a you here—
A you who, wrestling true doubts, deep tears,
Allows mutual love and grit-hate--
The are of you—that you and I begin to grasp
The with-ness of a good God,
That Master-Loaf-Warden of Heavenly Hosts—
Beyond the profound bond between mere humans.

Some there are who, reducing readiness
For what God might mean to them,
Build box homes for boxed lives in boxes of their mind
And so refuse rapture and ecstasy—
To be--and to find themselves, dead-end down.
Those, though, who are withing-one-another,
Find perpetual hope to feed and be fed,
Unraveling this world’s worst knots
To easily accept angel messages,
To welcome God--thereby-among-us.

Small Things Make Great People

by

Joris John Heise

A husband, I must choose between
The Bengals and the job-jar tasks
My wife waits weekends for—to nail
Or clean, to plant or sand or dig.

This woman, too, would rather rest
Would let slide washing clothes today;
Would read, or watch TV or sleep
When chores require stairs to climb.

These daily choices do the Will
Of God—cause peace across our world,
To reach its war-mongers and pause
Our haste towards death, towards war, towards null.

My finite focusses—these acts—create
A wink of beauty in the very stars,
And rough-born hope appears like light
Each first-day dawn of all there is.

Small Things Make Great People

by

Joris John Heise

A husband, I must choose between
The Bengals and the job-jar tasks
My wife waits weekends for—to nail
Or clean, to plant or sand or dig.

This woman, too, would rather rest
Would let slide washing clothes today;
Would read, or watch TV or sleep
When chores require stairs to climb.

These daily choices do the Will
Of God—cause peace across our world,
To reach its war-mongers and pause
Our haste towards death, towards war, towards null.

My finite focusses—these acts—create
A wink of beauty in the very stars,
And rough-born hope appears like light
Each first-day dawn of all there is.

Midnight Mass

by

Joris John Heise

Our twinkle lights link to distant stars.
Which I can see--reflecting in brown eyes—
See laughter there. Far fuses toward love arise
In roots that glow beneath small dreams, large wars.

A new-born brings believing—damps our fear.
See! good is life, each pain will pass, cruel lies
Will fade, and all we've got is Gift. What dies
Is death, is cowardice, is dark, leaked tears.

This night, each you appears, too, as a "Son"—
A soul-core God fathers, your finest you,
Your brightest song, your cleanest, sweetest view
Of plain-day living rich with human play.

And splendor dances in delight between
All sorts of lovers—led by angels seen.

The Magi Come, We Magi in the Dark

by

Joris John Heise

We grope along in a gathering dusk,
Enshrouding us with hopeless choices felt;
We mourn at our aimlessness of mind
That wants a discovery of dawn;
We breathe at such overwhelm of gloom
It suffocates slim hopes.
We’ve hated all losing—when bad luck
Defeats an honest enterprise;
But hated much more the waste of good
In tangents distracting from purposed paths;

Imprisoned-mind people stare at hope
From painful-still hearts of lonely deaths.
This Christian feast of Kings repeats:
A Child can defeat a dreamless king;
Rich-eyed radiance is born
In promise of more than smug professionals;
Is born when starlights all point to earth
And match our small loves invisible to eyes;
When our whole life’s value leaps itself
In exultation out of thwarted errings!
Fulfillment comes camelling in at meetings
In merry, magic ways of magi men
Whose gifts shine as not mere gold
But from courage, cunning, rightly-aiming faith
For woman’s small child’s glimmer--
That’s us, too, waking to the Time of God.

Starting Anew as an Adult

by

Joris John Heise

Each agony can birth ne w belief, a born-againness
Which twists us from much too much mom-tradition,
To push us unpleasantly toward a purer personhood.

We feel urge to stay fastened, still-born—
Itt foists fear and fumbling and is our reluctance:
We’d rather stop, careful--comfortable as couch potatoes.

But Other intrudes our "O, no!" opposition—
Our liking to be left alone, to be lazy, to be lost.
To wing witty word--bullets against complex worlds.

+++

It is so hard for human men to hurt with birth,
To open guts and give life by giving ear to God!
We’d rather mire in old, old, old, old mindings,

Our goal, though, is to eject externals grandmas gave us
And accept the premiss that we are pregnant with promise,
With hope, hello to strangers, and happy whimsy.

The click of new life occurs in the un-self-conscious new kid,
Who loves whoever, and who overlooks sweetly,
And who hears old news with forgiving ears.

Dis-aster"--Adam & We Choose Snake

by

Joris John Heise

That bold Jesus who is the merry side of me—
Confronts with courage all the "Dis" that tempts us—
He decides to create instead sweet shalom—
Instead of vague duty-dread in a lied disguise;
He opens now a new chance to dance,
And makes firm the "no" needed at each pause
When I can be a wholly human, edgy saint—
This Jesus who denies the ruses demons use.

Some startling miracles tempt truth to lie
While better miracles abound all around
In the daily intercourse of doing life:
While I co-create fresh days till death--awesomely ordinary.
Coy voice of snake and Satan comes
In seeming clarity of subtle ratiocination
Where promised bargains hiss sweet rewards;
It’s deeper-down, though, where God gets adored--
Where "no" needs to go to the instant choice—
That devil’s seed of hurried test
Which tries for little flash of small success
Instead of that final, endless being which is life

Noah and the Ark (Lectionary # 23)

by

Joris John Heise

Old Noah’s ark settled like a seed
And his little life so altered what’s small
It got gigantic, cascading all across our sphere!

Jesus’s temptation took a little time
While old beasts and god angels wrestle
In odd ambiguity and aches of body;

Small tension moments mint beginnings
As rare as soft, high rainbows soothing us
When sun develops rain to instant color.

Like Noah, each needs to fight current scoffers:
Let live your deeper loves, believe the risk past today—
And later fruit will be produced this time;

It takes strong soul to pledge such love—
That Mary’s yes, that Jesus’ News—
Which makes a healing of all hurt;

And then you dance beneath grand rainbows,
Beyond the rain of human tears beyond
That sun-soaked, fertile Galilee of yours.

Once past whole earths that died beneath the rain,
You sacrifice the more—some precious-most—
Believing Plato’s shadows yield to substance.

Abraham’s Sacrifice & Jesus’ Transfiguration

by

Joris John Heise

True choosings flash abrupt light so quick
They link lost times with our present eyes;
A lovèd child dreams a dazzling life
And finds it, finds it facing Cross, accepting risk.

The step of setting forth counts half of it—
That eager old-man Abram exiting
To act his heart, and write a life as long as stars shine,
Exploring unknown patches promised him.

That old man’s seed of grace he’s passed to us:
"Love more your inner law—that game, raw Word,
Which’s heard inside. Abandon halvs of truth,
Then, rise through lichened stones to shine forever."

The secret’s in clear-hearing You through the fogs:
You call to act as God’s child, despite death’s sure.
Match compelling love with drastic nerve:
To turn old deaths to ever-fresh eternities.

Sacrifice & Mountain Tops

by

Joris John Heise

One mountain means Abraham knifing Isaac.
And Tabor exhibits a Christ resplendent,
Both events evolved of foggy faith
Becoming a sharper view of Son-ship
Like, when cloud-clutter fades, sun shines.

Commitment comes as damn-the-cost—a find
Of Fatherhood value, providing a priceless peace
That all epochs and every family love
Fuses into one belovèd rose whose bloom
Is quite a surprise inside our soul.

Creation of the worth-grasp appears as true
Beyond the tears of spent, confused pursuit
Past ever lessening though truthful cognizance--
Toward awaring wide-awakeness, toward depth
And goodness—All are guides to go.

Beyond each mind, correction comes of the way,
In courage, towards calm, huge decisions
That face the too-smug warp we’ve made of the past
With present presence of yielding mere thing-objccts
And walking forward where we’d rather not.

Heaven? It Means Surprise.

by

Joris John Heise

You cannot buy stair ways to heaven
Nor eat through golden arches up
Some yellow brick road to paradise.

But neither can a stubborn faith in ritual
Produce the kind of cut-through-crap
True heaven woke in Peter seeing Jesus.

* * *

Angle-Saxon heofon and Hebrew shemayim*
Bespeak a penetration to truths hidden
In rare and lovely laughter eyes don’t see-

Far past the downs, the deaths, the tragic flaws
That tire thighs, age shoulders, bend our hearts
From ecstasies appearing in the quiet present here now.

+++

In prayer, we see with new eyes Elijah and our Chris,
Amanda Apesos and Marie Knight, amazed at the truths
Of their hope layered, then thickened with love.

The Thirst Which in Her is Sex

by

Joris John Heise

For her each marriage meant hope
Against endless lonely coping_
Each coupling she imagined that
She could connect herself
With some final, sated comfort.

But what came down the pipe
Was human-dribbled drivel
And weak, initiativeless males
Who failed to know or care
To be themselves to her at all.

This Man, though, fought with wit
And won her heart beyond
Exasperated put-up-with sex;
He poured a Spirit out and in
Like water for the thirsty from a Rock—

What a miracle of connection—
Where Truth laughs, sheer with joy.
His wand of words wrought magic
That lifted her life awake
Despite her drunk-with-sleep shields.

The spell on her was broken in—
There she found fresh consumption—
To live a large excitement,
Her tongue extolling Him,
As she herself drank Love decanted.

From Comfortable Religion to Passionate Faith

by

Joris John Heise

A man may mind signs--feel self a brainy romantic,
Grip within an ancient, classic heritage a comfy God;
And hold the Ten firm as the Gospel youth--
Because his pious family fed him them like milk,
And he learned to love their meanings, too--grown mature,
He touched their elemental respect for life
And taught them on to others, too, with love.
The crucified became his book besides:
Beyond the signs and wisdom of Jews and Greeks,
He tagged along the trail of Francis branded by fiery love,
Felt he exceeded the standard way of life--
He wanted also to_.

Focussed grace and remedial courage exceed that now--
To join within Jesus’ mystery of faith--his pulse-beat--
To flush the shrivel'ng faith of half-hearted harm
And scrape away the rot of wrong concerns,
Awake to the rusting of goodness, trigger
Contempt for what he’s been, learn hope to change
And grow emerging into the freshness of daily bread
Depart from what he’s had, to follow Him, to be
For real.

Our Burning Bushes

by

Joris John Heise

Each hour burns with a billion Horeb bushes:
They are the courage-cost—with care and gentleness—
To face the faceless lies that form inside of us—

The burn of being branded by our own convictions
Where logic wrestles love about the loss of life,
And hope’s a false sun for lonely long lassitudes.

Powerlessness and poverty can be a boss of self
While patience fails to sift away the searing sneers;
Defeat prefers distant Horeb to more ambiguous Egypts,

But we meet The Master both remote from men
And in congested throngs of all us gesturing Jews
Who have the habit from our running history—

For Hebrews were the Jews and are the us,
Each us beholding bushes that brighten souls' eyes
And transform defeat and fear to hard-won heavens—

Each of us the Moses going forth from bondage
To hardship, enterprise and ripening glory.

#41 Lent - We Blind Ones

by

Joris John Heise

We grope, hands out, through hateful workdays;
We crave a lightness creeping sweet as spring.

Gray heaps hold us—descendents of years of snow are
Gelatinous blankets wrapping minds to keep us blind.

We fear finding that we’ve tried wrong cures,
Fear solidity, courage, sunshine, joy.

We’d rather be blind whining with words
And muck among ice-soul-self where we prefer

What is not Word, but tangent spells
Of social sleet that sheets heavy on green hopes;

We’d rather winter in self-pity night;
We’d rather argue endless how not to change.

But we Davids wait anointment, too,
From that relentless, hounding God of love

Whose hands and kiss so hunted David—
Beyond cosmetic, thin concoctions

And all the riffraff things we do to
Elude such a seer—the persistent Care He is.

Our blind eyes slam shut against Messiah-meanings
With its predictions sensible and true

As tulips green and ground-breaking.
Each seeing awake us, opens eyes which urge

An insight far beyond this season's time,
And into a belief beyond the fear to see.

Facing Evil Makes Us Aware of God

by

Joris John Heise

You hammer heads with the mystery of murders:
Frivolous deaths of young, innocent and aged ones,
And the smooth corruption of confident Nixon-minds,
The woe-on-woe that piles on, with sheer more years,
And faith that peels away, like slum wallpaper,
As some slow, gradual, glacial evil avalanches into chaos.

You scourge and burr us, God, You reach hot hand for us,
To force our face against the furnace of our souls
Where heat and cold knot confused, hearts get sold
In compromise, and cowardice comes from good;
We twist off steel keys in doors of half-right words
That rape rthern than making medicine of love.

It takes such relentless press to keep loving true,
A steady stream of Damascus swords to chisel us
From rock-bound craven cave of jail-bird state;
It takes a more-than-niceness cleaving us
Towards commitment deep as Sinai’s root
And changing us into a Child re-born to life.

The Prodigal Son

by

Joris John Heise

Each family--yours, yes--enjoys a Jesus-Son,
That one child wayward and rebellant,
Whose ego, treading tough against all trend,
Does acts defiant of his father’s doting—

He feels your care as chains to cut--
By snippers of his own--for out-there fun
By self-self-self asserting angrily;
To act against his brother’s goals—

—Goals smug, and a tepid almost-kind-of-love
Of too-obedient and merely-near-good blah
That trudges life proclaiming filial love
When all it is is fear to be oneself—

The core of love creates--creates at-one-ness
By returning to reconcile, concede mistakes,
And make good in give-and-take of human news,
Find holy God in weak beings bound to fail:

The younger son forgave his father’s flaws,
And hoped to start again with feelings far
More truthful than his brother’s jealousy--
Yes, far more fruitful for their future joy.

The Meaning of Corpses Is Life

by

Joris John Heise

We bury half-stiff cats in backyard holes,
Feel absence of a father whose cold hand
We touch before they close the coffin lid.
Small children miss their cozy grandma’s smile--
Her gentle generosity a great, gone hole—
But all deaths mark defeats of cheery love.

True hope means not that Grandma will come back,
But that she lives—and that she lives right now,
In "cozy" we ourselves become—her life
Inside of us as stirred as fertile spring,
Untied, unleashed and hungry to form good,
Her generosity, our blood; her strength, our truth.
Good God breathes breath from noble souls into us,
Transforms their deaths to feel refreshing start—
Yes, dead cats can wake dead us to March.

Seeing Connections Between

by

Joris John Heise

Deliberation forms deep death, but deeper life--
The cut into time beyond a cup's mere use.
It ends the go of nowhere-run in empty thoughtlessness--
The life of pretend--lets real seed roots, leap to life.

We each are horse, bit thrust between my teeth,
A stirred volcano shrugging fire from,
A new-born, blue-eyed babe promised to God,
A pin-point penicillin waiting on a windowsill--

All the while crushed between cold but royal rocks,
That are the gradual mills of God’s Good Will,
Each I becoming old Ignatius’ tasty bread
But on a level just appearing in our age—

To sing the teasing mercies of the Now-Lord
And not just bored, concepted God of habit;
I will not waste my seed on self,
But shake this lamprey hidden here

To join the costly leap that is fidelity
Beyond schooled habits—The guilts done, undone
As sky grows clouds toward earth,
And their rain kills deserts veiled in falling silver.

*Ignatius - the early martyr, who prayed to be "bread ground by the teeth of the lions."

Nor Do I Condemn Thee...

by

Joris John Heise

"Which laws create our chains as chosen bondage?
And how to see her passion in our petty pains
Which merely grab a grave and end in death?"

"My guess is her grossness wanted to get caught,
She got satisfied when punished from Jewish Law,
For death dealt her little different than her penned life."

They shamed her then with their legal game,
And made her pawn-play between two sets of males:
She, sunk in silence, sensed her value then, the lack of it.

But Jesus parried gambits with a nuanced wit
Way past their words wanting to stone a female crime--
To free her with the truth by his trust in worn-down ones.

We are her here, you known, our hurts sealed in semi-guilts,
While waiting here the shuffle off of games
Till some true Person ask and answer final say-so’s.

Our better dreams get out there in His embrace
That conquers all deadly laws, all verdicts made,
And by freeing words being gotten in divine forgiving.

Passion Sunday--The Learning Experience

by

Joris John Heise

True schooling starts alone:
"Face facts against the Self"—
And when self against the truth
Collides, we yield real love.

In quiet, yes, we assert
What’s true toward other selves
And find ourselves betrayed
By trust, by self, by love.

In sunk defeat we fall
From eminence of gods
But, gristed through His mills,
We grind by love back up.

And then, from deepned flour-dust
Of wounded self we birth new selves
Like sweet butterflies--like stars
That radiate enduring rays.

It’s how we choose in quiet core
And quiet care that finally counts—
Not the seem words, the placed looks—
But—past learnèd fake-stuff—doing love.

Good Friday - The Point of Death is Life

by

Joris John Heise

We view no joy in death.
What’s loss is gone—the void
Of links created slow,
Go frayed, then snap—all left, lost.
A cat is put to sleep;
Another person’s smashed in traffic;
Another goes asleep and’s gone.
And mine waits out there, too.
But Jesus dies to rise—
The mystery’s beyond
Belief. It’s just sheer love—
Creation come again to birth.

+++

It’s only death-deep love
Like Jesus’ bends event--
Like atoms--into power
And makes from dead flesh life.
Tight, true love stands unfathomed joy,
The dream become a mere touch
That heals all loss, yes,
And welcomes You to us.
So stepping into death
Becomes a hard-heroic choice
Because of--Him we love He
Loved you, won peace by passion.

+++

The point of death is love—
Expressing life, though lost,
By bonds so strong we dance
Like Jesus after dying.

Good Friday - Julie Angry at Me

by

Joris John Heise

Some deaths touch us not—
A news report, a distant cousin,
A shadow of someone long, long gone,
A history lesson, a retired someone.

In other deaths, no one dies dead,
But dead they are to us,
Their absence looming
And our tears shed as hard, or harder.

Their gone-ness voids our time with emptiness,
With horror, too, that once-loved they are not,
And their laughter on the tape is hardest yet
Because the laughter is laughter stilled for us.

No hand in the hair, no gentle jibes,
No catching eyes crinkling with unspoken fun,
No, nor time in silent, cozy snugness
Of warm bodies being next to mine.

Each Good Friday hurts hard and harsh,
Tears unwelcome and necessary knell
Departure from this life of ours
In mourning, mournful toll of pain.

Good Friday - As It Looks

by

Joris John Heise

Each day dies, and with it sleeps mankind,
The ease or cataclysm making an end
Familiar, inconsequential, routine as breath.

One man dies, and differences do occur--
The not-just-grief of goneness means more
Because that life meant more than most.

We seize the mystery of my death
In seeing another go to the dark
And wonder why not I, why not?

Because there is an end of "I"--
Some time down the execution of the minute
When my life becomes my deadness.

Jesus ended. That He did. Gone.
No matter how much faith engendered,
Hoped, charished, dreamed, believed,

That Friday froze His lifetime to a stillness
Broken and beaten, rejected and ruined.
Only quiet stayed beside His body.

At Easter, The Birds Sing

by

Joris John Heise

This Easter can etch us with sparkling shocks
Apprising us of spring that grunts from ground,
No reason—it just does—wrens sing on rocks
Against the gold of lacy gauze, their sound

A hope beyond our faith—beyond our words:
To know the treasure that is Care and Cross
And that each pause comes pregnant. These birds
Revolt against down-deaths and so much loss:

They bring their singing into history
And Jesus surely laughed that Easter morn
When Mary mourned among a symphony
Of mundane wrens and robins. Angel horn

They're not—just soul-food for the quiet you
Who hears the Jesus-Joy and lives Life New.

Easter - The Meaning of It

by

Joris John Heise

Yes, spring does not bamboozle us;
Its verdure tells the truth, though gauzily,
Though sometimes winter gusts back strong
With depressingly gray sullennesses.

But spring’s finale will blush to full summer
When foliage, grown green as crayolas—
And that thick, that waxy, too—
Abuts each horizon that we hold and use.

For green IS God's ego, after all,
His hopeful, self-assured envelopment,
That delicate variety of leaves on spring’s loom,
Creating changes everlastingly, like God.

Each spring we walk on carpets of phlox,
Observe small, yellow violets surprising us;
They all talk a quiet rumble-silence, like the thrust
Of seedlings up through thick, clay clods,

And we all face that feeling-common, like the
Communal infinity of small flower-faces
That forest mother keeps on birthing—
(And it feels fine to see wee, weak stems).

But it's also time to be a spring blossom, too,
Define one's good through a green "I AM"
Of history that we—each I—shape of cycles
Into summers God and we create again.

These billion births of lives of every size
Are all re-births from small Good Friday graves;
They form towards independent, joy-thick times
Of peace, perfume and sharing fruit-futures.

Easter - The Meaning of It

by

Joris John Heise

Yes, spring does not bamboozle us;
Its verdure tells the truth, though gauzily,
Though sometimes winter gusts back strong
With depressingly gray sullennesses.

But spring’s finale will blush to full summer
When foliage, grown green as crayolas—
And that thick, that waxy, too—
Abuts each horizon that we hold and use.

For green IS God's ego, after all,
His hopeful, self-assured envelopment,
That delicate variety of leaves on spring’s loom,
Creating changes everlastingly, like God.

Each spring we walk on carpets of phlox,
Observe small, yellow violets surprising us;
They all talk a quiet rumble-silence, like the thrust
Of seedlings up through thick, clay clods,

And we all face that feeling-common, like the
Communal infinity of small flower-faces
That forest mother keeps on birthing—
(And it feels fine to see wee, weak stems).

But it's also time to be a spring blossom, too,
Define one's good through a green "I AM"
Of history that we—each I—shape of cycles
Into summers God and we create again.

These billion births of lives of every size
Are all re-births from small Good Friday graves;
They form towards independent, joy-thick times
Of peace, perfume and sharing fruit-futures.

Easter

by

Joris John Heise

Do you know what happened Easter morn?
Some women said one thing, guards another.
Men jostled each another, lied, saw things, some
Came to believe, all spread conflicting words
Like seeds and weeds to a whole world.

So it stands. If that Jesus had roots
That reached Infinity’s remotest grounds of love--
A love now flowered in death caused--
Then He and we have survived to live another day
That dawns always confused and lied about.

We reach a life whose expanding core
Lies outside mere physics, mere mortal time
And is instead a readiness-love rich as snowflakes
That come so innumerable and so farm-necessary
And in time, in time, nurture spring to succeed.

Making a House/Making a Home

by

Joris John Heise

Saws groan their shrill spill of spinning power,
Hammers whack-smack-smack on nails, blowered heat
Creates cold wood towards cozy, womb-y rooms.

What sat as hole becomes a growing cell
Of a family’s future beauty, fun and joy—
A nest of truth, a pause of common love.

Beyond what eyes see, faith constructs it all—
A context weaving new births of greater worth;
Its members’ true talks are prayers toward playful peace.

A sharing in an unseen Jesus here
Can shape and re-shape bias, forgiveness, bread
Into huge glory, sun-smiles—being born-ahh!

The Blood Stream of the Divine Family

by

Joris John Heise

We prove paternity by tracing blood’s down course--
But blood--examined--breathes stranger truths, too, to us--
That clue there of our Paternal God costs blood
When risky love creates us new from a hard-won "yes,"
While water—with breathing—forms a base for all life;
Thirsty failures die in deserts far from homes
Where Mother-Care could furnish sweet flowing love
In all its uses so unnoticed by us hurriers here and now.
All blood-and-water in-and-out of us
Form signs we die & rise--they hint of Whom we love;
We make from them a mint-new cosmos now
In place of merely ancient safety, clutched.
Belonging comes in Thomas’ touch of Jesus’ blood—
And wholeness’s peace, in much forgiveness;
The Spirit of our Body’s blood marks the gifts
We’re starting out to learn— to walk That Way.

We Doubting Thomases

by

Joris John Heise

In January, crusts of ice coat dirt--
The ground lacks life, lacks growth—all hope lies hurt.

The bitterness of utter cold defeat
Complains all life is January cheat—

Flags failure of our wayward feet to gain--
To pass--that point where hope might taper pain.

But then comes in an April waft of wind—
Comes breathing in, with visions in the mind

Of jabs transformed to truth, to savored peace;
Forgiven errors end. Bound heart-doubts cease.

Our Thomas-hands grope hope in signs and words—
Sense Sons of Men unlock absurd sealed doors--

They open gold, good, great and wondrous feats—
Spring Spreads. Ground Grows. Life Returns. God greets.

Ready?

by

Joris John Heise

Large prisons lock bad guys away;
Yeah, smaller jails change petty crooks to evil seed.
And every foetus dwells within its own dome
While aged selves end long days in resting rooms—
These sealed-in sojourns keep folk far from friends;
Sometimes, they’re choices, past courage or contempt.

Though time might change such a sealed-in self
Toward being born--from being a blind, bent, helpless soul
Toward breathing and toward sights of ecstasy,
Away from treading in tiny cells the measly restlessness
Toward cries of joy, toward tears of treasuring love.

The strange feature in breaking of the bread
Is that He’s seen by some. The others stay
As dead as prisoners of hell--a scene without
Belief, minus a miracle, absent the meaning of release—
Remote from such peace as He pours readily.

Telling Truth Gets Us To the Kingdom

by

Joris John Heise

In talk we knit old terms with new-minted event—
Shape our lives with His death and make meaning,
No specious religion of garden-jargon cliche,
But tales which fructify truth, entwined with joy:

"My words beget a life-long yeasting of heart
A blessedness of blood changed beyond mere spilling,
A messy tangle, yes, of feelings, but more—
It makes you make fresh loaves of joy."

Disclosure of worth beyond words—
As naked souls do with best friends—
Brings resurrecture to you secret selves
Brings God by virtue of living death to life.

Both Jesus and His friends beside the lake
Walk, tough as stone, and true as fish
And feed us all by magical words
That call us now to know a final thing—

That each "yes" that’s said to You, says "I do!"
To that always-newness emerging which You offer.

Looking Back is When we see Resurrection

by

Joris John Heise

Looking back in life we see a Hall of Mirrors
And in our mind-mirrors see ghosts of God;
It’s only through such thoughts and through
Desire that we see the shapes of Fishermen,
And future death, and how dumbly did we fail
In proffered experiences of ecstasy.

The awe of love looms, though, in the time-shaped path
We take to walk through daily tasks toward true Glory—
Beyond a naked, numb and eyes-cast-down passage
Past blank walls, no backward glance—to grow aware
This hall of mirrors leads to execution for courage
By way of preaching unbelievables.

Jesus Not So Much a Gate As a Switch

by

Joris John Heise

Jesus speaks; He speaks to you:
"Between your world and your self, I
Form a gate between my love and your life—
I can connect your self’s vague yearnings,
To rich meanings, future fulfillments."

This uttering disturb self-satisfaction—
Reminding us about the muscle electric currents are:
Which can wreak death, sizzling us to our demise—
Or cool us, heat us, light us--ease our lives.

+

Jesus as Shepherd or Gate fumbles truth--images obsolete;
It strikes us rather how Jesus look an electric link—
Between that vast field of unseen energy and
Our weak, needy world where we wait for it to show.

The real result comes when clicking Him into our rooms--
A flood of light, of focused warmth, He comes--
And, triggered, provides awesome niceness,
More productive than man-made contraptions,

Flipping that switch distances us from dark--
Can cause us becoming significant as saints,
Can convert life’s drab duration into a new universe
He switches us to "on," and we rest in photonic thrills
Beyond mere living.

Are We Sheep?

by

Joris John Heise

"I am no sheep! Me? I’m an American!
I defy sheepishness and rustic folderol
And crap that cries out-dated idiocies.
"I’m brave! I'm bold! Throw out the old!
Let’s make a pill or mold steel machines
Or lawyer a case for sixteen years to trial.
"We are shrewd. We are crude. We cut the mustard.
We make new roads, invent raw bits of chips
And smear green landscapes with SUVs!"

A man, though, captained careless in Valdez, Alaska;
And where he went vast oil eddies followed—
We think we're not sheep, but aim darkened ships
Swollen portent-full through narrow channels,
Enact a life, threading channels among so many deaths
To bring our blind and crude, not-yet-done lives
Toward green grass and open seas and some success.
We men-sheep allow following too quietly some pilots
Of bell-ringing, buoyant popular boats,
Following, following and not knowing we follow—
Failing to pursue known truths toward goals
Beyond horizons of the possible.

Murray Bodo, Franciscan

by

Joris John Heise

He glows like gold within a memory
Of many years ago--a man of immeasurable wealth
Who’s enriching so many with rich Brother-hope
And whose valued edge still grows
Like some perfuming vine sun-lit
In a garden God’s hoes in Assisi.

That seed’s become a permanence
Of golden-green, refreshing spring with
A special species of St. Francis
A radiance beyond the realm of norm--
Because his deeper Source remains his True Joy--
A Seraphic Love, as real as human angels are.

Years pass. The gold glows from that gentle God
Forever etching each of us with extending lines
Of growing life, forever rising in eternal Easter.

Ashlie, a Special Student

by

Joris John Heise

She smiles like fall sunshine through gold trees,
Her brightness bold, thick, rich, and cheering up—
She fills the hearts of others like a cup
Of happy, and her own sweet heart, which sees
So many others', offers kindness--keys
Which open doors of hope. Like warm, thick soup
She feeds with gentleness her nearby group
Of friends and family—she’s an April breeze—

This nice, this slow, kind soul. She enriches--like
Some rose that wafts its pleasing air around
Her and the world glows, and she’s a kite
A-flying in the sky, and gorgeous sound

Of waltzing music, soothing words: all
Those springs that make our sphere a better ball.

On Talking with the Former Teacher Much Involved with My Conviction in Clinton, Illinois

by

Joris John Heise

My Eliphaz, we may not talk of sin,
But causes, consequences—of a legal sort—
Who got mad?—and avoid the threads that spin
Beyond my mere catastrophe—this sport

Of God’s odd play with me. You are a star
In Clinton, carry social weight, while I
Remain a stumbling child, come from far
And branded now a Thief, a Loser—Why?

Like Job and Jesus, I believe all pain
Is wrought towards resurrection—Joris Heise
Gets fresh grace, insight, love, forgiveness, gain--
And change from crucified to Paradise.

Job’s whirlwind tells timeless love, not law—
Beyond this moment dawns the God of Awe.

I Was a Turtle (Easter, 2007)

by

Joris John Heise

I was a turtle
Now emerging Easter early,
Who crawled joltingly, jerkily
Towards being butterfly
With beautiful wings;

Depends on how deep
It is I discover my turtleness
Find growth in the Good Spirit,
Awakening to change suffered,
And my ever-becoming--

My embracing freedom
Of people to put me down
Into a rough-hewn box of stone;
They laughed my love away
While I prayed Our Father.

Even more than Magdalene
I have loved the Lucullus
And the Judas and
The other brother pain-creators
Who knew not what they did.

My Father forgives
And He doing that, I do.
The world revolves once
I pass the world
With our cross.

Christmas with Rosemary

by

Joris John Heise

I turned a city corner one wintry day
And saw a kingdom’s summer garden.
Light glowed and pleasure flowed like wine,
And God smiled a shy little smile,
Like a three-year-old’s slow, shy smile
Across his mother’s shoulder from the pew
Ahead of us.

The garden? That oeaceful place we stay
Where computers cavort with Valerie,
(Rosemary’s Down Syndrome flower)
And I become so true I am calm-sea-d
And closeness is the orange we eat together--
Then together scrub the oven topped
With splattered oil from my selfish popcorn.

Oh, Christmas comes in courage to be born,
To choose again the smile of that child,
Erase our spitty little sins of spite—
Of ordinary un-prayer dull and dead—
To drink our deepest sap of growing up
And go with it toward valiant love, ripened fruit,
The needed wisdom, the laughs from hearts,
The hope that’s trust--and hard forgiveness.
New kingdoms come and we relax to find
He’s come again within each honed, trust-time
Of honest pause and honest choice we create—
When hearts smile that child’s shy god-smile.

Nikki's Wedding July 21, 2007

by

Joris John Heise


Most make footprints in wet sands,
Tide-time rinsing moment we were here,
And who we are sinks to sand and bubbles,
Becoming atoms and no more.

Weddings though sing songs
That love lasts beyond time's waves,
Meanings lie in infants' eyes, and
Imaginings exceed planetary motions.

Glory grows from God, grants wishes
That lift lowly walkers-down-the-aisles
To look beyond horizons into hope
Where love relaxes in eternities.

For love lasts, this promise blooming from
Mere words towards being heaven's forever garden.

Possibility

by

Joris John Heise

Mitch, an irritant ember
Sticks in the class's skin,
Stirs his circle of fun-frenzy.

He glows with wit, glowers
Back at the obstructed wisdom
Of a tired teacher's teaching;

Two sparks spit their friction
Lit by colliding aims--
Ions in a cyclotron--
Two arrows inching deathwards
Unflinching and welding together
In frisson of this, this
Meeting, this collision of X and Y.

Possibility

by

Joris John Heise

Mitch, an irritant ember
Sticks in the class's skin,
Stirs his circle of fun-frenzy.

He glows with wit, glowers
Back at the obstructed wisdom
Of a tired teacher's teaching;

Two sparks spit their friction
Lit by colliding aims--
Ions in a cyclotron--
Two arrows inching deathwards
Unflinching and welding together
In frisson of this, this
Meeting, this collision of X and Y.

Rosemary on her birthday

by

Joris John Heise

The sparkle stars provide each darksome night
So shines from you, to me, it’s morning sheen—
A golden glow against my east, you light
Of love, you dawn of fresh, you hope that’s been

A gift these many years, each day a bliss
Of wholesome hope, like stars that long ago
Once birthed our universe—and now—is kiss
From God that makes us live—an always show

Creating wonder, awe—and joy—and, yes,
So strong it kindles continents to life.

You are, my Rosemary, so rich with what you bless
I always grow with spring-time soul—you wife—

You make me more; you bring to all I live
A loveliness—in all you do—in all you give.

Innocence

by

Joris John Heise

Very Young Cheerleaders for a Football game
Some miracles form magic we might miss-- Eight red-clad innocents reciting chants At Ewing Park to lead rote cheers-and-dance For fourth-grade boys in paddings. In a bliss That’s more than we can bear, they sing a kiss To worn down souls as sift as dawn’s gold glance Through fog-twined trees, or stars for young romance. They show eternity--a flash of God here--this-- This Now, revealing--like an apple’s bite, The Taste of Incarnation--What God’s like Beyond the dust of words and codes of right-- Their simple eyes provide a lightning strike That wakes my aging slumbers to such awe I’m child now, who see all rich, rich, raw.

Kenan IS Chicago

by

Joris John Heise

Chicago,
Big-shouldered and expansive
Noisy and rushed
And quiet while the lake laps against the shore
And Navy Pier

The Art Museum is his home
And the Natural History museum
And graveyards
And LaSalle and
Silas Bigelow

His soul is larger than the city,
Larger than the tracks that go to Joliet
Larger than the sky where
Clouds interest the skyscrapers
And nose among the windows there

He’s the children
Of this heart-great, heart-breaking
Toddlin’ Town,
The thousand emissaries it has sent
To Chicago, the planet Chicago

And the frustrated, fights and fury
Seething towards justice
In the alleys, stores and offices
That fail to box this soul
Into any kind of box.

Kenan is Chicago’s becoming.

Kenan IS Chicago

by

Joris John Heise

Chicago,
Big-shouldered and expansive
Noisy and rushed
And quiet while the lake laps against the shore
And Navy Pier

The Art Museum is his home
And the Natural History museum
And graveyards
And LaSalle and
Silas Bigelow

His soul is larger than the city,
Larger than the tracks that go to Joliet
Larger than the sky where
Clouds interest the skyscrapers
And nose among the windows there

He’s the children
Of this heart-great, heart-breaking
Toddlin’ Town,
The thousand emissaries it has sent
To Chicago, the planet Chicago

And the frustrated, fights and fury
Seething towards justice
In the alleys, stores and offices
That fail to box this soul
Into any kind of box.

Kenan is Chicago’s becoming.

After a Spousal Fight

by

Joris John Heise

Some doubts describe an arc away from "us,"
You hesitate--you fear I am not here,
When all the time my worry and my fuss
Concerns your YOU—my seeing you as dear--

And deep as ocean, high as sky, you find
Your Joris judging not nor liking not,
But seeing ever fresh your wit and mind,
You Life within your life, your special lot

Within the vast terrain of this large heart
I Love You--and no change except to grow
Has marked these many years, and you are part
And always will be of my soul—I know

That fears arise. Kill them and let us share
Not just a bed, but souls that dare to dare.

After a Spousal Fight

by

Joris John Heise

Some doubts describe an arc away from "us,"
You hesitate--you fear I am not here,
When all the time my worry and my fuss
Concerns your YOU—my seeing you as dear--

And deep as ocean, high as sky, you find
Your Joris judging not nor liking not,
But seeing ever fresh your wit and mind,
You Life within your life, your special lot

Within the vast terrain of this large heart
I Love You--and no change except to grow
Has marked these many years, and you are part
And always will be of my soul—I know

That fears arise. Kill them and let us share
Not just a bed, but souls that dare to dare.