Our Father’s Time

Finding the world in the smallness of a grain of sand
And holding infinities in the palm of your hand
And Heaven’s realms in the seedlings of this tiny flower
And eternities in the space of a single hour

Gordon Sumner | Send Your Love

I think hard when I scoff at life’s demand
Can I comprehend all that He has planned?
Can you? Do you even dare to ask?
It’s mighty and daunting task
It’s beyond anything that man can understand
Finding the world in the smallness of a grain of sand 

For what’s a hundred years of a life spanned
When on the very edge of time You can stand
We mere mortal like Luna simply wax and wane
With only trite things called words to explain
All the power and glory that is Yours to command
And holding infinities in the palm of Your hand 

As I glimpse the fleeting rainbow after a shower
I’m reminded that He is the Ultimate Plower
For the seasons cater only to One whim
Over galaxies that are but gardens to Him
In the palm of His hand yes the Heavens tower
And Heaven’s realms in the seedlings of this tiny flower

Oh the magnificence of The Father – Our
Time immemorial is but a page for Him to scour
It’s long past when Mother Nature’s blue eyes close
And beyond a phase even Father Time knows
For infinity’s but an instant for Him to devour
And eternities in the space of a single hour


Feeling some Gordon Sumner (a.k.a. Sting) lyrics  in  modified Glosa form.

dVerse ~Poets Pub | OpenLinkNight #169

The Spirit Believes

Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.
“Burning the Old Year” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Romans, Countrymen
Sons and daughters of Israel
The spirit believes
Where there was something and suddenly isn’t
The heart sees what the eyes belie
The soul comprehends He is risen

This cannot be, so many claimed
And yet it is, as many others knew
The spirit believes
An absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space
A new calendar of the divine
Marking a new era that time cannot erase

Grand strides began with
Faith the size of a mustard seed
The spirit believes
I begin again with the smallest numbers
Each morning’s new breath, my daily bread
And a nightly prayer before my slumbers


Today, Mary is our host at dVerse Poets. She introduces us to writer, Naomi Shihab Nye, and challenges us to choose a line from Naomi’s poem “Burning the Old Year” to write a poem of our own. Overachiever that I am I chose an entire stanza to work with in a stylized Glosa.

dVerse ~Poet Pub | Poetics – Choose a Line

Via Dolorosa

I go where it began
My faith a spiraling question
Seeking answers

He passed here

My fingers lightly graze the warm stone masonry
At the Lion’s gate
I am as repulsed
As I am enthralled
In modern reverence
And ancient remembrances not mine

He was robed and crowned here

I look upon the heavens now
That surely looked upon this path then
And kneel under the weight
Of the millenniums twice beheld since

He fell first here

I hear those most ancient of sounds
And understand at last how
Simon’s act was hardly simple
I’ll share your load
In its truest meaning
As he and I follow the throngs
That once walked these cobbled streets
Worn smooth with time
Yet as torn as a betrayed heart
And a marker carved in stone tells me

He fell again here

Past and present collide
As somber robed monks walk the path
Singing songs
Alongside khaki clothed pilgrims
Marker molded in gold tells me
What in my mind’s eye I see

He falls for the last time here

Among the sun faded stones of then
Contrasting a gaily painted door of now
He speaks to this Daughter of Israel
Where I, this woman of the new world
Kneels down to kiss the sacred silver disk
Of Christ’s ending, Christianity’s beginning
Arising with a metallic taste
That tingles my lips reminding me
There is power in the Blood

He died here

No longer in question
My faith found answers
Where it ended

Via Dolorosa, “The Way of Grief” in Latin, is a winding cobbled stoned street within the Old City of Jerusalem, belief held to be the path that Jesus walked on the way to His crucifixion. Dotted with “stations” that mark specific moments – Simon helping Him carry the cross; Christ speaking to the Daughters of Israel; etc. Many Christians visit Jerusalem for this pilgrimage, especially around Easter.

I personally have not taken this pilgrimage, but it is on my list.

dVerse ~Poets Pub | Poetics – Adventures in travelling


There is (or was depending on when you read this) a Facebook meme asking users to list 10 books that have stayed with them in some way. The books did not have to mean anything to anyone but the user.

Here is my list in the order of which they popped into my head:

1. The Kushiel Legacy (Series) – Jacqueline Carey
2. Harry Potter (Series) – J.K. Rowling
3. Spenser (Series) – Robert B. Parker
4. X-Men (The Phoenix Saga) – Chris Claremont
5. The Divine Comedy (The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso) – Dante Alighieri
6. Othello / Romeo & Juliet / Macbeth / Hamlet – William Shakespeare
7. Teacup Full of Roses – Sharon Bell Mathis
8. If Beale Street Could Talk / The Fire Next Time / Go Tell It On The Mountain – James Baldwin
9. Incarnations of Immortality (Series) – Piers Anthony
10. Holy Bible (King James Version)


#1 (The Kushiel Legacy (Series) – Jacqueline Carey) and #9 (Incarnations of Immortality (Series) – Piers Anthony) on this list I have written about in an earlier blog post and you can read why I love them here. Below I give little summaries not of the books themselves (I trust that you know how to Google or Wiki it if interested 😉 ), but why they remain with me.

Harry Potter (Series) – J.K. Rowling

As a reader of the books and watcher of the movies I adore this in its entirety. Not having children of the target age initially designed for I didn’t come into the Potter world until I saw the first movie “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”. As a sucker for things magic, warlock, wizard, witches et cetera, I had to read the book that created such a delightful movie. Only then did I learn a) it was a children’s book and b) it was series. Still, by the time I finished reading the books published to that point Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I was hooked. Author J. K. Rowlings has invented such an amazing in-depth world that is and yet is not part of our own, while never forgetting that at its core it is still a young adult book. In most children/young adult literature series the characters stay relatively the same age for years.  J. K. Rowling penned theses character in as true sense of a bildungsroman possible given the fantasy. Reading/watching the characters develop over the years, I really did have a sense of watching the characters grow and come into their own. The entire series was phenomenal storytelling that captivated me and opened up a genre of books (young adult) I never would have considered reading otherwise.

The following quote has been attributed to actor Alan Rickman who portrayed the Severus Snape character in the film version of the books:

When I’m 80 years old and sitting in my rocking chair, I’ll be reading Harry Potter. And my family will say to me, “After all this time?” And I will say, “Always”

That sums up my love for the books and their movies in its entirety.

Spenser (Series) – Robert B. Parker

I admit it, were it not for television, I likely still would have never heard of Robert B. Parker. Luckily for me, the television series “Spenser for Hire” happened.  I fell in love with the characters; none of whom were perfect (though the leads were perfectly cast in the show).  I found out in the third (and final) season that they were based on books and after reading “Ceremony” it was a done deal.  Robert B. Parker’s writing is witty, intense, mellow and detailed with nuance as he slides you into his Boston.   Both the requisite tough and tender, Spenser (with an “S” like the poet), a former boxer, former Boston cop, now private investigator is a well-read, often quoting classic poetry, yet one smartass S.O.B. and an excellent cook. He has his own very strong sense of morals and what happens when doing what’s right clashes with doing what’s right– as  it often happened. It is both the strength and the albatross of what makes his friendships and relationships work.

X-Men (The Phoenix Saga) – Chris Claremont

Yes, X-Men as in the Marvel comics and movies, The Uncanny X-Men comic books to be specific. Yes, Storm – a character who was strong, female, and stop the presses, Black – opened the door introducing me to X-Men and the Marvelverse, however, it was Chris Claremont’s writing that kept me in the building. From the Phoenix’s fiery ascension (ironically from the waters of New York City’s Jamaica Bay), to its death, The Phoenix Saga took a little over three years to tell in its entirety and I was there for every step of it. The very human dynamics of the mutant x-men working with their powers, and in the case of Phoenix powers that eventually prove to be far beyond her ability to control with dire consequences, was not something I expected in a comic. The world at large was just coming into the concept of a graphic novel, so this level of storytelling for a comic book was unheard of.  Yes, they were humans with extraordinary powers, but they were human first and that is what called out to me.

The Divine Comedy (The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso) – Dante Alighieri

Finally reading this as an adult away from school, I needed two detailed abridged versions along with the original to fully appreciate the scope of this masterpiece.  Yes, on the literal surface, The Divine Comedy portrays Dante’s adventures in his imaginative realms of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, which is intriguing enough. However, these adventures or so much more than what is on the surface. Other than the Holy Bible, it was the first book I read that dealt with the demands Christianity makes on invariably fallible human souls. Though told through the character’s view this is not just one man’s struggle, but the struggle of all who strive for morality and find unity with God as we try to travel the right road.

Othello / Romeo & Juliet / Macbeth / Hamlet – William Shakespeare

Who is better at delving into what makes man, and woman, tick and then deliver it to us in finer verbiage than Willie Shakes? No one.  While his comedies show display our foibles with rapier sharp wit, it is his tragedies that really cut to the human heart of us. These four in particular being the prime examples of his craft.

Teacup Full of Roses – Sharon Bell Mathis

Though technically a young adult novel, I was ten when I read “Teacup Full of Roses” at the suggestion of my teacher.  I fell in love with the book because it was the first book I read clearly where the characters were contemporary (1970s), from the city and above all the characters were Black.  I could easily relate to the hopes, dreams, nightmares and failures of these people because they lived in my world. There is much conversation on how the media does not provide an accurate portrayal/accounting of people of color compared to real life, and this is at the adult level. Imagine how much more this is so at the child level.  Until then the only black character I knew in books was Jim in Huckleberry Finn.   Some will never understand how amazing and important this is to a child of color, but it is.

If Beale Street Could Talk / The Fire Next Time / Go Tell It On The Mountain – James Baldwin

Ah Baldwin, in turns made me yearn, made me made angry, made me resolute. Not yet fully aware of the world at large, I did not know the importance of his writing at the time. I just knew this was our lives being told true as I knew them to be. I was exposed to passion in black love, anger and Christianity in a way that was not toned down and pretty. Teacup impressed the ten-year old me, but Baldwin blew the teenaged me out of the water.

Holy Bible (King James Version)

Ah the Bible. I worried as Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go. I understood the father’s joy when his prodigal son returned home; Abraham’s torment as he led Isaac up the mount, as he resolutely obeyed God’s word and Mary’s pain as she cried for her child on the cross.  And Song of Solomon / Song of Songs – well, that’s its own love.  For me The Word was never about  my potential destination to heaven or hell. It never really about His word per se, the analogies/parables between man and deity took second place to the stories of the people themselves and how we relate to and with Him.


Dissecting this list I realize the connection between all of them is that, it is always about the people in them and their stories. Whether fictional/biographical/auto-biographical – it is how the protagonists / antagonists relate to themselves, to the immediate people who are a part of their daily lives and how they relate to the world the world at large. Good or ill, it’s all about what makes them tick.  And how deeply can they pull me into it their world and make feel me it in mine.

Something For Ygritte

In obeisance

Head raised



Through the lungs


From the pulse




Across parted lips


In reverence of

The beauty

Spread before him

For the first time


For the first time



Her head

Thrown back

Mouth agape


His name

In rapture



The Lord’s Kiss


A 55 word poem for dVerse ~ Poets Pub | Form For All: Fifty-Five Shades of Grey

Touch Of Faith


They’ve always said the answers will come for all I’ve pled
They’ve always said that all I’ve hungered for will be fed
That all I have to do is reach out and believe
But I laughed them off feeling greatly misled

They’ve always said I’d never be alone, faith would be my homestead
They’ve always said I would feel alive after years of feeling dead
So I opened my heart and touched a sleeve
Now I believe the things they’ve always said

dVerse ~ Poets Pub | OpenLinkNight :  Week 98


Traded as payment for overdue wage
She knows, though it’s gilded, it’s still a cage
She’s yet to see sun
Shipped from place to place, displayed on a stage
To those whose tastes prefer ones underage
For sick sense of fun

She’s told back home no one’s missed her absence
She does not believe in their evidence
But bows to their might
Forced to do things against her conscience
Knowing what they do to those called nuisance
Flees into the night

Thunder rolls, storm clouds brew:
It was the sound of His measure of her trouble
It was the sound of His dread for her plight

Bloodied to a near pulp from being beat
In deepest fear of the oncoming feet
It was much too near
Oblivious to the filthy concrete
She lays prostrate in the dark on the street
It’s all she can hear

Brought to this new land for a tidy sum
From a land she never asked to leave from
She was their plaything
Smelling of cocaine, and cheap stale rum
She lays there waiting for death to come
She hears them calling

Lightning strikes, raindrops pelt:
It was the sound as His anger mounts
It was the sound of His tears falling

Glass grinds into her already raw shin
The pain raises a moan from deep within
They hear her outcry
A tear is slowly sliding down her chin
As they plunder through her most tender skin
Knives do not ask why

As each breath she takes become more shallow
Smiling, she knows she won’t see tomorrow
Her end has begun
She’s raised from the filth in which she wallows
A shining light eases her deep sorrow
At last she sees sun

Dew drops, Sun rises:
It was the sound as His arms open
It was the sound of His words of welcome


dVerse ~ Poets Pub | OpenLinkNight : Week 93

How I Ink It…

Rai's back tattoo

Always meant to ask if you chose that order of symbols specifically, what the order means or did it just look artistically best to you in that order, if you got them at once or “add-a-charm” …? Q

As several others have asked similar questions about my sole tattoo– thought I’d answer you all here.

Actually, it started from the middle out.  I sort of placed them in the order in which I learned of them. I was raised Christian, so it is first in my life and thus above the peace sign. Judaism was the second religion I learned, placed right below the peace sign as a balance. While I eventually heard of several other faiths, Christianity and Judaism were the only two faiths that I was surrounded by and had any “working knowledge” of until high school.  Before then with my very limited worldview, Muslims were who the Jews were fighting in Israel and that’s pretty much it. I realize now, that it was something of a subconscious thing to put the Crescent closer to Magen David as opposed to the cross as Muslims were more their (Israeli) problem, than ours (Americans) as I was growing up.  Who knew? Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism were foreign concepts. Seriously, some mention of such in martial arts films would be the closest thing to understanding about The Way as I would come for years.  I was not associating with followers of those faiths to ask and learn, so my knowledge was spotty to say the very least.

Entering the workforce brought my first one-on-one interactions with Muslims and learning of the Koran.  Eventually Taoists, Hindus, Buddhists came into my rapidly expanding world view.  I came to know more people and as a result their respective faiths.  Books and now the internet also help flesh out of my still woefully lacking knowledge.

Though I had known of Greek, Roman and Norse mythologies since grade school, it was the resurgence of African culture in the late ‘70’s – early ‘80s that I first learned of African mythology.  The concept of Black deities, other than the age-old argument of the ethnicity of Christ in some churches, blew my mind. I knew if I got a tattoo an Ankh would have to be a part of it.   I placed it at the bottom because I knew I was Black before I knew I was Christian, so for me it’s the base of everything (including civilization depending on who you ask). The Om and the Taijitu as the last of the major faiths I learn were placed above the Cross simply to balance out the design.

Though some will claim that the Taijitu (the Yin Yang symbol), covers it, leaving out Paganism (generally represented by a Star Pentagram or Pentacle) was an oversight on my part, one I plan correct eventually for fairness. So I guess I get to “add-a-charm” after all, Q.

The design as I originally conceived it had each belief in red within a black circle, with the peace symbol in reverse colors.  Red drops (blood) emanate from the peace symbol piercing the black circle of each belief, turning each symbol red in turn. Unfortunately, I let the tattoo artist convince me that the red really wouldn’t show up well with my complexion and did the entire thing in black.  If I ever go back to have Paganism added, I plan to have red drops swirl around the black circles and through the peace sign. I chose it to run down my spine from the base of my neck (feeding the brain where I think) to just about the bottom of my rib cage (protecting the heart where I feel).  As our spine are to our bodies, our faiths, beliefs are to our souls.

Essentially, no matter what belief system surrounds us, at our cores we are still all one blood, it is the backbone of being human and we should all be able to live together in peace. It’s as complex and as simple as that.

There you have it – Religion according to Raivenne. (Queue John Lennon’s Imagine, except I’m leaving the faith in.)

Congregation dismissed.


Theme Thursdays | Complexities

Answer to the ∞th Question

My child you’ve asked Me to define
How do you feel a life divine
A presence in the air you breathe
It’s when My child I call you Mine

I’m in the shh-shh of the breeze
Soft flowing through the willow’s leaves
I’m in the chanting of the chimes
The faltering of buzzing bees

I’m wrapped in the most ancient rhymes
Brought through to these most modern times
I’m the warble of bluebird’s song
A testament to changing climes

I’m the magnet whose pull’s so strong
To help right you before the wrong
The crowd you handle on your own
The Single Presence in the throng

I’m in the chances that you’ve blown
I’m in the peace when you atone
I’m in the strength when fears you fight
I’m in the pleasures when you moan

I’m in each morsel that you bite
The prayers you retire at night
I am the final finish line
The practice of a life lived right

So child you’ve asked Me to define
How do you feel a life divine
It’s when My love is mixed with thine
It’s when My child I call you Mine


dVerse ~ Poets Pub | Poetics: Peace Within and Without