Sunday, December 6, 2015

To My Family

I just found this on my computer.  I wrote it more than four years ago, thought you might be interested:


I was forty-three years in the northern wilderness.
Before those years, I had prayed,
Earnestly prostrated before the Lord,
In another country, another city, I prayed,
(He saved me, He rescued me, He sent me on a path of exile)
I prayed "Lord, put me through what you need me to go through
In order to make me the poet you made me to be."

Was I really a poet and not much else?

I don't know if He has started to answer that prayer,
But my experiences in the wilderness have been different and elemental.
Deep as a scar.

Now,
At the same time I fear I may forget,
So other-worldly they were,
Or maybe "third-worldly" a better word.

Remind me, children, how we knew life:
No time for poetry or art,
The next meal,
Firewood cutting and hauling and splitting and stacking,
Clearing the land by hand,
Building the house,
Growing food we ate in a summer of ten weeks,
Scything and raking and racking the hay field by hand
For the goats that made us our milk,
Plundered two times per day,
Winters down as low as minus fifty,
The stove glowing red,
And snow as much as four feet deep
Falling in one night.

Lamp light and batteries,
Digging a well by hand,
And a hand pump at the kitchen sink.

The greenhouse, the outhouse,
Worship and home school,
Prayer every morning at 5:30 am--

I could and should go on and on
And should,
lest the images and memories fade away.

We lived like Saint Francis with Lady Poverty
By the work of our hands,  (and still today)
From hand made boot to handmade boot,
Hopefully this was all God making me into the poet
I hope to become.

During those years I felt like I toured both Heaven and Hell,
Known exile seared into the ventricals of being,
Known miracle and deliverance and divine provision,
Praise and glory, storms and waves instantly stilled by
The Peace Be Still of desperate faith
When caught out in a canoe on an icy lake
Flooding the deepest knotted fibres of my being.

Heard and seen the angels, awstruck by the nordic
Falling colored curtains of heaven on the coldest nights.

I've put bears and wolves to flight
With prayer and faith and desperate bravado.

I've slept beside a salmon choked river
Where bears were fishing, me--
Wrapped in a sleeping bag and simple nervous prayer.

I've known friends to appear as I sat
Miles from nowhere in Canadian mountain bush
Finding me in the night at a lonely fire.

I've seen death stalk my enemies.

I saw a child run over by a loaded haywagon,
His chest crushed flat
Instantly healed
And laughing with the other children
At supper that night.

Strangers have handed me envelopes filled with hundreds
Even thousands of dollars
Unasked, unexpected, but so needed,

So much more, so much more glory,

But who am I?
God made me a poet, gave me leather and boots to make
For my groceries, and what is that
In the reckoning of things?

I spent hours cumulated into years huddled around a fire
Worshipping and praying in thanksgiving for simple
Food shelter and warmth, family and mercy and grace.

My three children know how to survive,
How to take care of themselves and their families
Without guns,
Know God and serve Him whole-heartedly,
My wife  a treasure that has enriched all my days.

God told me in a dream: "Go back to the city,
I have work for you to do."

After forty-three years,
He led me from the wilderness just a few weeks ago.

Here I am Lord, sent by you.

charles van gorkom
January 2012










Sunday, October 11, 2015

Forgive Them

         Forgive them, 
        Rabbleous cacophony rattling my door,
        They know not what they do
        Or what they are for.

        I only see through a darkling  glass
       Vistas of love
       And how by its silent power,
       The redeemed will pass,

       How a stone is warmed in silence,
       Softened 
       To bear a flower. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

S. W.

One day,
By clever diversion,
life made treaty with death in you,
a minority ground-swell in opposition
and  War began.

I fled to the borders,
what could I do?
For seven years
I hid and trained my binoculars
on your embattled soul
made sorties for your replenishment,
You always smiled in tranquility
as if precious children rioted
in your skirts.

When the smoke cleared,
the flame flickered out,
I carried away some of the rubble
for a keepsake,
ashes that remained,
with your smile.

What more could you have done?
The treaty you could not break,
nor could I,
Your life triumphs still by joy,
It is the Treaty Breaker's tranquil smile.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Softly Light


There is a candle in the darkness,
You can see its glow,
But not the flame.

When your eyes are closed,
You know it is
Shielded gently in two hands.

Hands that shelter the singing
Tiny light,
Reflecting on a quiet face,
Eyes on your eyes,
Love answering  love.

Lips call your name
Softly saying
"Come to my gentle light,
Little one,
Come,  eyes of love,
Enter your whispered name,
Come home"

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Blessed Is The Human

Blessed is the human
Who does not edit
The one true story
To fit the narrative of his time.

This human is rare
And blessed
Who edits the narrative of his time
To fit the one true story.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Your Kingdom

Your kingdom is within me
A walled city.

I am the watchman pacing his beat
Upon the walls under your stars
Looking out over the silver shadow countryside
All night long.

I am the priest offering incense
Among the lighted candle prayers,
I sing in the choir and write the songs;

I am the old man on the street,
The reader sitting in the park,
The child listening to stories
By the fire.

I am the worshiper tattered and soaked
Who comes in for prayer from the rain;

I am the shoemaker and the barber,
The baker and the carpenter
The plumber, welder,
Banker and farmer.

I am the keeper,
I build on foundations you have laid.

I am the listener as I walk the streets
Or sweep them, or rake the fallen leaves,

Sometimes I see you, or hear your voice
among the people.

I am the father and the mother,
I make safe families and homes
Radiant with peace and joy for happy children;

I expect you, my king to return after a long journey.

I want my city to shine with the light
You left for us burning in it,
streetlights and windows
like the moon and stars.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ending The Bloody Jihading


It begins like a dawn
With a terrible growing light
At the wrong time of night,
In the wrong place,
Fingers stretching
to enclose eternal space,
A breaking wave of fear
Of falling,
Surfs the world upon,
Moorings shift,
Chains and anchors,
Feel them stretch;
World is sinking,
The light is wrong,
This can't be the sun,
Hopes dying
Hopes rising,
An ancient manuscript,
yellowed parchment
cracked and broken,
Shadows casting of a cross
Beside an empty tomb,
In the spotlight of a terrible dawn,
Like the new age ending
Another age begun.

The Blinded Bride

He was away on business:
Building her a house
For them both.

He wrote whole books to her,
Man to wife,
She didn't like the endings,
She rewrote them.

He wrote love letters to her:
Male to female,
At first she was enthralled,
Then
She refused to understand.

He sent messengers:
She was offended,
She ignored or jailed them.

He is coming soon in person,
What will He do?

She talks of coming out of a closet,
Surprising him
With her same sex lover.


By Charles Van Gorkom
www.rainforestsoul.blogspot.com

Friday, August 29, 2014

By Singing


Piano on tiptoe
Combs the unruly forest
Measure by measure
Releasing the grasses,
Shuffling leaves.

Reaching
A noisy stream
It cups and cradles
Murmurs and chimes
Soothing
Among mossy rocks

Now still the water flows,
But clean and clear,
A rainforest sonata
Drop by Drop
Pure water joy
By singing
By piano song.