Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Burden of Brother Blood

by Jim Rapp

How faithfully we'd serve You if You had not insisted
that we love you will all our heart, soul and mind,
and . . . and our neighbor as ourselves. Nothing listed
concerning our comfort, time or wellbeing of any kind.

The burden of serving You is in found Genesis, found
in Your answer to Cain's plea, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
"Your brother’s blood," You said, "cries from the ground."
You will not let us escape the burden of brother keeping –
                   the burden of brother blood.

Saturday, May 12, 2018


by Jim Rapp

Essentially dead from the top down – one third –
that third stands in the middle of my cherished view,
a thin, ragged stem giving roost to an occasional bird,
otherwise accommodating only detritus, nothing new.

I've given thought to removing it one way or another.
The landlords have no interest in doing so; they see it
only from ground level, two-thirds live and no bother;
it is a bother at the third-floor view from where I sit.

I have no quarrel with dead trees, some I see as comely,
dead from root to crown, sturdy arms lifted in elegance,
dying with proper dignity, in vertical repose, serenely
suggestive of their useful, fruitful, former countenance.

So how can I bear a grudge against this unseemly dead
when I reflect that, at 82, I'm at least one third unseemly?
I'm shamed that those whose view I've insistently obscured,
graciously accommodate ("look around") my unseemity.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Rewarder

by Jim Rapp

Sometimes faith finds a specific object –
a healing, a deliverance, a benefice –
but more often its undefined subject
is unnamable, provides no satisfice.

The wanderer must home in on a distant star
and pursue it though its flickering light casts
no shadows, lights no page or path, nor
guarantees – nor guarantees – a home at last.

Beyond that receding star – far, far, far yet
beyond; a thousand eternities far and dim –
faith sees the Undefined, the Object of its
quest, the Rewarder of those who seek Him.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Ruthless Arbiter

by Jim Rapp

When innocents die in gas attacks
it seem only right to strike the perpetrators.
An eye for an eye – if struck, strike back –
insert ourselves as "righteous" arbiters.

No matter that care is taken so that
no missiles strike the guilty smiters,
extract no eye, inflict no harm nor swat
the accomplices of the perpetrator.

Instead "righteous" arbiters aim their drones,
in other conflicts, to pull down houses,
deform the limbs of young and old:
and who will arbitrate their causes?

"Vengeance is mine," says the Lord,
"I will repay." Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.
Atrocities, the Righteous Judge will hoard,
and then repay, coin for coin, with no ruth.

Snowstorms Are For Kids

(Haiku form)

Snow storms should not come
on weekends when kids are home
from school anyway.

Storms should interrupt;
should put a stop to all things
children love to hate.

When I pass on to
Heaven I'll apply to be
the keeper of storms

dispatching them to
interrupt adults' plans while
pleasing the children.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

In Secret Praise of April Snow

by Jim Rapp

Most Aprils are drab affairs –,
bare branches and seas of mud –
but some years God threads the air
with snow, weaving a shroud
to cover the dreariness; a rare
addendum I covertly applaud.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Even I Could Do Something Good

by Jim Rapp

If imperfect people didn't do good things
there would be no good things done.
We all have sinned – are sinners – but that brings
no requirement to, at all times, be one.

The problem rises when imperfect beings
refuse to do good things, indeed when
their imperfection thrives on woundings,
when healing seems to them to be a sin.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Kinnickinic in Summer

by Jim Rapp

From sources that I know not of –
wide and raging in the time of melting –
but  narrowed now, she slowly drains the cove,
leaves a bare and rocky beach molting.

One might fear she is reconsidering –
might choose to become a Saharan wadi,
cast her silver skin, leave off meandering
for good – renowned then only in threnody.
Threnody: A song or hymn of mourning
composed as a memorial to the dead