River Rising

This poem was written a few months ago when I was doing mission work in the neighborhood where the 2015 Baltimore riots took place. This was the funeral of a young man who had been the 300th murder in that year. I lift this poem up as a call for peace and change in our times of pain and bloodshed.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 

“River Rising”
 
I come to an anonymous funeral
     by invitation.
I am a worker in the church,
        and do not know the dead.
the speaker in the pulpit is 
       a mighty boom of passion, pain, and sorrow
       with a resounding voice that rises in hope and volume at once
       in a declaration that shakes our hearts
into running waters where
         they fall and flow with the river 
         of gathered memories.
Together, black and white, we pray for rivers to run
        into seas of change where knives and guns
        do not fill our caskets with the young.
I did not know the dead,
        but I hear his cry.

 
 
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River Rising by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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Diverge

This poem is about thankfulness in hard times of change.

God bless,
Morgan

"Diverge"

pile up another box
     around me as I stare
 in disbelief
 at rapids of change rushing over
    the rocks. 
we are the moving river barreling 
        toward a divergence
where I’ll go my way,
                                        you’ll go yours.

I could clutter up this last leg of
the familiar way 
with all the debris
careening around us: 
    the setbacks, shifts in plans,
           breakdowns, and dreaded news
that could batter apart the faith I carry atop
    this torrent of water.

you call us to thanksgiving, God,
   not despair.

I focus my running eyes to 
     precious moments tucked along the
banks, gems in the river weeds:
praise songs sung on the road at night
      when we’re running out of time.
an old game my dad finds in the
      basement of his childhood home
      and teaches to me in the middle
      of hectic chores.
tearful embraces of comfort 
      with no words.
friends holding hands in sisterhood
    as one listens to cancer knocking
    on her mother’s door.
prayers short or long or broken, all
     answered quietly day by day.
and throughout, the glimmer of wise words, 
      forgiving words, 
humble words, 
        and brave words.

      we will go different courses 
but we will meet again 
         at the ocean wide.

 
 
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Diverge by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Change

I think I’m in good company when I say that my life has unexpectedly become a time of tumultuous changes. This poem draws on two of my favorite Bible stories, the changing of water to wine (John 2:1-11) and the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1-15*), for inspiration for courage to face the changes before me. These stories tell me that with God’s power, we can overcome our challenges, transitions, and uncertainty.

God bless,
Morgan

*There are multiple accounts in the Gospels of the feeding of the five thousand; I chose the one from the Gospel of John.

“Change”

At some point we all face
plain water 
      filling up jars at wedding beginnings.
Cool, simple, and familiar, it beckons
     us to leave well enough alone
     for now.
Too often we freeze in place where you
    moved into miracles, splashed into
rich red tomorrows. 

I am the boy with the five loaves
      and two fish who you met on your
journeys in the desert. 
I hold out my meager collection of
    courage and hope and ask that you
multiply these pieces
        until I have enough 
to feed a multitude. 

 
 
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Change by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.