Poem: Embers

"Embers" is the third and final poem in a series of three poems about winter. The first two are "Osiris" and "Teresa." Body, where did you go? You fall when you run because your feet are numb. Your hand cannot write when its fingers are locked, frozen like white forests, the silent stillness of the fields blanketed with grace though death is underneath. No branch, no root, no man is free from this strange Paschal mystery. Soul, where did you go? Your mind cannot think if your heart cannot feel, Your heart cannot beat if your mind killed the Real, frozen in your memories, long drives and midnight lights, filled with fire and passion, now just cloaked in apathy's cold. No mind

Poem: In Between Empires, Dreams

Here I stand surrounded by all I left in this place where love found me, and every part of my soul screams to return to the life I knew and loved— fantasy and obsession, running their course again though I know they get me nowhere, just a thousand what ifs, each a dead end, because the past is in the mirror, and Future is the game everyone’s playing so that no one’s really here or even there for that matter because places mean nothing without presence or people, and everyone everywhere just wants the same damn thing— the bankers and their wealth and the artists and their fame, chasing a happiness they’ll never attain, using others as stepping stones, as they dig their ow

Poem: The Hermitage in the Woods

Here, in this hermitage in the woods, sat a man with his typewriter a half-century before. Thousands of words, from his spirit, through his gloves, touching millions of souls, and moving my own. An aching heart, a furious mind, his only antidote: to write. A complex man, a simple life, his truest reality: Christ inside. I told Brother Paul I'd like to walk where Merton walked. We hugged on the porch where his soul had danced. By Stephen Copeland This poem was first published on copelandwrites.com. #Poetry

Poem: Teresa

To give all I can is all I know. To pour out all I am, my devotion. The mule with its will and its hope to attain the prize that is tied to its head in the end only looks like a fool. But I won't stop running for You. Even if You laugh at me, too. The man with his heart and his hope to grab hold of she who fled to the woods in the end only falls from the sky. But I'll bleed until the day I die. Even if love is a lie. He held me, he held me, he held me when I threw my fist through the wall, and shouted curses at the ceiling. "You taught me of grace," he said, "and pain is its beginning, grace is the burden lifting." And as the devil spat in his chapel, the priest did not

Poem: Ambivalence and Ambien

Colors become one as dusk fades into the long, black night. Stars ablaze above the empty room— mystery in the cosmos, chaos in the mind. Lonely bed beneath the glowing moon— ambivalent heart, hope-filled sky. Dark void of the midnight hour: well of creativity, the soul’s resolve. Thick inkiness of silence: my purgatory home between worlds unknown. Colors burst as dawn invades perpetual waning and waiting. By Stephen Copeland This poem was first published on www.copelandwrites.com. #Poetry

Poem: Osiris

It's okay that you move slow. That makes you different and precious. It's okay that you're inexperienced. Your innocence is beautiful and a gift. It's okay that you feel betrayed. Your wound helps you to create. It's okay that you are broken. Your brokenness helps your heart break for others. It's okay that you feel lost. You must first be lost to experience the hope and thrill of being found. It's okay that no one understands. Your complexities help you to listen and understand others. It's okay that there is death and agony within. He who loses his life will find it. Your insecurities are strengths. Your fears are opportunities. Your angst is to be engaged. Your loneliness

When the train comes 'round again

One thing that I love about the Psalms is that they are emotionally raw—an unedited account of the human experience. At times, David eloquently praises God, overcome with gratitude and joy. Other times, he is full of doubt and frustration. And then there are times when he asks God to kill his enemies and bash his enemies' children's heads against rocks. The Psalms challenge me to experience the depth and range of my emotions and to then move through those emotions so that I can experience how I might be transformed by doubt and suffering and hope. Also, I have learned that if I do not adequately process and digest the confusing things that I feel, I am more likely to transmit my unprocessed

Poem: Sharing Stories, Becoming Saints

Birthed from the beauty of genuine relationships, this book came from you: friends and family, missionaries and teachers, mentors and therapists— the souls that made mine, interconnectedness of saints, and the stories that formed mine, which is what Stories do, igniting and uniting our essence, for anyone who dares to read or see. You met me where I was in that new, foreign land and accepted me as I am, which is difficult and painful to do, as Change did what it does— from my home, where this all began, to my heart, where everything changed; Indiana, Carolina, Paraguay: I owe all to you. I know that I can be complicated but you, my friend, accept me anyway and dare to u

A Simple Song for an Anxious Mind

Have you ever stopped and listened? To the clanking silverware, to the cicada choir, to the hum of a dozen engines at an intersection, to the rumble of tires on the pavement, to the buzz of a dying street light, to the nibbling squirrel, to the panting dog, to the kettle’s cry, to the gurgling drain? Have you ever walked slowly like you have nowhere to go, like your meeting can wait, like your to-do list is not holding you captive, like the world is your heaven and all is to be breathed in? Or perhaps through the grocery store like monotony is your beach? Just to listen? Just to listen to the song that God sings? By Stephen Copeland This story was first published on copelandwrites.com. #Cont

Poem: Man of Many Thoughts and Dreams

To the man whose mind fires up each day like a jet-plane engine, power and chaos pulsating through the body, always daring to lift off -- to go somewhere else or fly higher still: And to the man who feels the intensity of each breath and heartbeat, who wakes up each day to two potions on the counter, both of which he must drink, one labeled "joy," the other "despair," each moment pulling him deeper into both life and death, light and dark, a liminal existence in the shadows: The goal is not always to quiet both, especially if his thoughts are sound, the engine quaking, and his emotions balanced, both cups empty, but rather for his mind to rage on and the plane to go nowhere at all, for his h

Poem: The Billionaire and the Artist

The billionaire has everything he needs yet lives like he is lacking, scrambling through the night like a felon dodging daybreak desperate for a high, trying to catch a moonbeam in a flask. What is he searching for? What is he running from? Anything and everything. Because that’s what billionaires do. He returns to his two-bedroom by dawn: not a billionaire’s lair but that of a tragic romantic who has received “every spiritual blessing” yet needs his tortured soul to be inflicted with the ache of his longing, the addiction of resolve. What is he searching for? What is he running from? Nothingness, which is everything. Because that’s what artists do. The lust of his swe

Poem: Desert Madness

Everything is dry. Nothingness for miles. But what a terrible thing it would be to quit walking. I mean, I could quit walking. But then again why would I if I already left by walking away from that fruitless, futureless land and through that rising, mountain sea? What a weird thing it is for salvation to end where it began in another fruitless Land and another futureless Quest. I don’t know, maybe I’ll quit walking. Maybe I’ll sit here in the sand where east is west and north is south, staring at the same damn thing as yesterday and the year before that, as the horizon bends and whispers, “Haven’t you been here before?” measuring me so I’ll measure myself. I think I’m d

Poem: Carolina

Has it really been seven years since you first pulled me from those fields, away from all I knew, away from sweet simplicity, the simplicity I can’t reclaim? Is it simplicity I seek, that small-town life: prosperity? Tough to do with a dangling dream that taunts and haunts and teases yet frees. If simplicity means liberation then maybe it’s simplicity I seek. Or is it complexity that frees, this bursting dream: the key? Yes, I think it’s freedom that compels me. Has it really been seven years, since I first ran through your tunneled streets, honeysuckle and pine-scent hanging in the summer air? I was running then, and I’m running now, but I still don’t know what I’m ru

Poem: SP4CEM4N —> 5PACEMAN = 5P4CEMAN?

“The Enneagram can help us develop an awareness for our future and destiny, for that true face that we do not yet ‘have,’ but that already slumbers deep down inside us.” -Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert, The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective PART I Where are you, MR. SP4CEM4N? You’re here, but are you here? Surrounded by love on this Christmas Eve, but you’re lost inside a dream. The love of your life in your arms tonight, but you’re swimming in a fantasy. I saw an astronaut down on Church Street; he kept on singing to the moon. Did you see me right in front of you, the stack of letters in my hand, the basket of prayers I bled for you, my love spread out across the sky? All sw