Thursday, September 18, 2014

Couple of modest little poems

No perfect poems,

I don’t write them,
Don’t expect them of others.

I just want poems showing the work of human hands,
Dirt in the fingernails,
Tongue, touch, sound, imperfect mind,

They don’t have to be perfect.
Perfect is the enemy.
Perfect paralyzes perfectly.

Perfect is the end
Of poetry.

[Bob Coughlin / September 10, 2014]

The above poem is in response to a brilliant friend who is almost too good a critic. I would think he would be paralyzed in his own writing! The idea for the poem also came from Anne Lamott's brilliant book, Bird by Bird, the best book for someone hoping to become a writer.

A Letter from Jesus: I’m Not Your Damned Lord and Personal Savior


I’m tired of you saying that I am your “Lord and Personal Savior.”
First of all, I’m not your damn Lord.
There are no more Lords, thank God!
The feudal system is dead, and good riddance. I’m not your Lord.

And this Personal Savior crap.
I’m no one’s Personal Savior.
Didn’t I make it clear that salvation is about community
Family, tribe, community.

Remember “when two or more are gathered?”
That was one of my clues.
I lived and died for the Community.

So enough of this crap already.
I wish you’d just hold hands in a circle
And say, “Thank you for my family, friends, co-workers . . .
We bless each other.”

Yours Truly,


[Bob Coughlin / September 3, 2014]

Well, I haven't written many poems like this! At first glance, it seems blasphemous. But underlying the poem are some serious theological ideas. It was fun trying to write in the voice of Jesus (and a Jesus not too often seen in Church). I am not a blasphemous person; I'm serious about religion. Let's just say that Jesus and I had something important to say, and we put those points into this poem.

Sunday Breakfast in a White Oak at Lakeside

Still groggy, carrying my morning coffee to the pier,
I notice something strange in the periphery—

Then my eyes lock on to a bald eagle,
Just twenty feet above my head,
Flying slowly over the Lakeside Pavilion,

A small bunny in its talons, still writhing.
For a second I can’t believe what I am seeing,
Wonder if some kid is flying a kite.

But no, it’s an eagle, in an unexpected place,
Now climbing to the big white oak on the shoreline,
To eat breakfast.
[Bob Coughlin / September 7, 2014]

This poem is based on something I actually saw one recent Sunday morning at Lakeside, Ohio's Chautauqua, on the Marblehead Peninsula, near Sandusky and Port Clinton.

Lakeside's Pavilion, where I saw the bald eagle

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