Sunday, May 12, 2013


They are familiar to me as your hands—
These dog-eared book backs stacked in rickrack lines—
Close-clutched around their edges as we begged
Another chapter read—sometimes you would.
Spring Saturdays your hands would rummage yard-
Sale tables seeking treasure buried between
Half-mildewed covers, or, sometimes you drove
Us to the air-condition aisles where
The books were piled shelves above my head.
Those flash cards (stubborn things!) grew dog-eared too;
You flipped them through so many times I knew
Each crinkle, crease, or stain—though not the answer.
Funny how the words of Aslan stuck
When twelve times two would not. Hot summer days
Your hands taught tomato vines to grow up stakes
And peas on chicken wire trellises—
I pulled up weeds and wished that I could curl
Up in a chair and read. Late autumn nights
Your finger pointed out the Pleiades
Or traced the craters of the moon. I soon
Discovered there were books for these things too—
For winter snowflakes captured on cold slides,
For bluebells springing by the creek in June,
For all the rhythms of my happy heart.
These friends—they stand like cedars in my mind:
Tall worlds of thought and wonder. You—who sowed
The seasons of my childhood—know how
Deep down they push their roots into me now.

©2000 Deborah King

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Color Psalm

You are more colors than my eye can see!

I sing you, but I cannot sing you true—

I sing you dark and dull and drab and gray.

I dance you, but my steps are pale and slow:

I dance you olive green and navy blue.

Give me peacock feet and scarlet song!

You are everything swift and wild and strong—

Everything delightful, merry, and free—

Azure rain and blinding, golden sun.

Oh, everything wise and awful—fill my tongue

Viridian and marigold and ocean,

So when I sing you, you are truly sung;

Then let my feet with laughter overflow,

And I will dance you amethyst and flame.

The midnight heavens rejoice at all you say,

The sea-green waters answer back the same—

Oh, everything brilliant, marvelous, and bright—

Open my eyes so I may see you right!

You were color before color came.

©2012 Deborah King

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Trust Psalm

You must—You must not be my Enemy! 
I will not have You for an enemy.

Bitterness is no excuse for that.

Envy I called Longing; Pride—Desire;

Jealousy was Thirst; and Lust was Fire.

Sometimes the sky seemed short, and heaven flat.

I do not have a good excuse for that.

But You—You must not be my Enemy!

Though You, You mixed the bitter in my cup.

Though out of all proportion seems to me

The bitterness that now I vomit up:

I will not have You for an Enemy.

Befriend me! Let Your good be strong for me!

Let Truth, like manna, break Hunger’s weak defense.

Let Light, like water, turn all Envy dry.

Let Beauty Himself shame Craving into silence.

I do not want You for my Enemy,

My most constant Friend. Let everyone know:

Write Your friendship across the open sky!

Take my hand in Yours, and I will go

Where terrible, beautiful friendship makes me go.

©2012 Deborah King

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Our Inconsolable Secret

“We do not want merely to see beauty …. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. … The sense that in this universe we are treated as strangers, the longing to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret. … [G]lory means good report with God, acceptance by God, response, acknowledgement, and welcome into the heart of things. The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.”
C.S. Lewis, ‘The Weight of Glory’

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The Only Way to Play

“I don’t play accurately—any one can play accurately—but I play with wonderful expression.”
Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

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