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The Poetry of Tom Hoornstra

Golden Passage

Shine through my heart, sunbeam of heaven,
through evening waters perfect in stillness,
fluid mirrors holding the brightness
of clear summer sky at the moment of sunset;
a radiant beam of clear liquid fire
shining unbroken from the horizon.

Shine through my heart, sunbeam of heaven,
in autumn leaves transforming to scarlet,
shimmering bright on blue northern waters;
fluid impressions, radiant colors
shining within, sacred in memory,
speaking of home, my far native country.

Shine through my heart, sunbeam of heaven,
in dragonfly wings glinting transparent,
in hummingbirds flashing over a flower;
in a hawk in the sun, its feathers on fire;
in soaring white egrets, elegant herons
winging home in the last light of evening.

Shine through my heart, sunbeam of heaven,
in the radiance of the first rays of morning
weaving all through the high mountain forest,
threading with gold its needles and branches,
binding up night and banishing shadow;
tapestries spun of living substance.

Shine through my heart, sunbeam of heaven,
like a thread running through a tapestry, weaving
my life into one; its places and seasons;
the face of a child, the music of laughter,
the smile of a friend, a soul-secret lover;
each hidden jewel the heart may discover.

...You shine through my heart, sunbeam of heaven,
building a bridge to my own native country,
letting its light burst through the apparent,
filling the earth with heavenly splendor;
the knowledge of God, all-loving Creator.
Yet, people don't see; they seem to be blinded...

Shine, then, through these word-painted pictures,
open the hearts and minds of their readers,
that they may also drink of this beauty,
that they may find their own native country;
that they may know the infinite bounty
stored in His heart, the Fount of all glory.


Stars

(A high Sierra meadow)

I lay in the meadow and look up at the stars
slowly emerging through the last glow of twilight,
diamond-bright in the high Sierra air.
The path through the pines is lit very softly
with the silvery glow of the light of other suns;
they wink through the boughs of the forest of shadows,
hovering, gliding over the treetops,
spanning the sky from hills to horizon,
stars upon stars upon oceans of stars...

They seem to me to be peering back downward
like eyes; pinpricks in a black velvet curtain,
shining from realms still pure, untouched by evil,
where far-seeing angels keep faithful vigil
over our steps, lighting our pathways,
drawing, calling, guiding us onward.
--Look to the heavens and see the love of God
who scatters His lamps across the dark reaches
to light and to warm them, to be as a beacon,
to remind each of us that we are not alone;
that we are but sojourners and have another home.

Glimmering waves upon a vast ocean sky,
spans of light-years behond imagination;
strings of diamonds, necklaces of pearls,
stardust misting across the gulf of midnight,
a million candles flickering on high unseen winds;
nova and nebulae pregnant with suns,
worlds being extinguished, worlds being born
as if without beginning or end
except in the mind of the One who holds their being
and weaves them together through hidden dimensions;
the One fount of light from which they all spring,
though separate, scattered across vast reaches
which only He could contain or comprehend...

Once long ago on a far Judean hillside,
a shepherd boy sat awed by the heavens
the glories there displayed all around him,
and they seem to declare some sacred knowledge,
and he heard strains of some secret speech,
like a song in the night, inspiring prayer,
pondering, questioning, reverent wonder...

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

what is man, that you are mindful,
the son of man, that you care for him?


(Psalm 8, 3-5)

But now men are asking, "Is God dead?"
--What has become of imagining and wonder?
And where are the heavens? Hidden from sight
by the smog of our cities, the artificial light
by which we extend the day's endless business
into the night, never thinking beyond
to look to the heavens and ask where we are
and who it is who made and contains these.
And so our light has become to us darkness.

But when I look up at these stars all around me,
blazing bright above where I lay,
I still wonder, and give thanks and sing...
that He is, and watches, and we are not alone;
that He holds us and weaves us and carries us home.


Wondrous Child

And this is wondrous, that God reveals
in the life and face of each newborn child
some part of Himself, His mind and intentions
which not even the angels of heaven
have ever glimpsed or comprehended.
That beings of such splendor and power
would gather around to gaze in wonder...

Not only one child on one special night,
but every child when seen in the light
of His love, unique, a new creation
which has never before been seen
in ages of time, nor will be again
until this present world shall end.

And isn't it also strange to consider
that the same child can also be born here,
and most of the people never notice?
They just go about their daily business
like this were an everyday occurance.
And so does the very miraculous
come to be viewed with indifference.
And the child can grow up this way,
and most of their lives can go on this way
without anyone having comprehended
the miracle that they really are;
an aspect of God never seen before,
and nevermore to be seen again
until this present world shall end.

But the holy ones still see,
and in the highest, so does He
from whom they spring. He knows their deeds,
their every sorrow, heartache, dream;
and He it is who will receive
what each one has been and done;
who will take each one back home.

(What mercy to consider this:
perhaps they never really left!)


Blue Angel

Into the winter evening stillness
comes a soft, abiding presence...

Streaming softly through the window
on a silver beam of moonglow,
a lovely figure touches down,
garbed in cloudy satin gown,
glowing with a soft blue light
against the black and velvet night.

Folding up her silver wings,
a sweet lullaby she sings
above a sleeping little face;
one white arm upraised to trace
a magic circle of protection,
rest and grace and benediction.

Bright blue angel watching mild
over her beloved child...
There are loving eyes which see
beyond this dark reality;
there is a caring heart which knows
when the smallest sparrow falls.

I hope that it is even she
who nightly watches over me.


Ancient Child

Children think the things they do,
their games and songs, are something new,
although their elders knew them, too...

Truth to tell, we still do:

When we play and sing along
like our hearts just know the song;
when gesture flows spontaneous
in rhythm with some cosmic dance;
some long-forgot inheritance
is raised back to remembrance,
and we catch a fleeting glimpse
of the secret, knowing smile
of a wise and ancient child.

A Child's Lament, 1999

Too much concrete,
not enough sand;
Too many voices,
not enough hands;

Too much busy,
not enough time;
Too many gadgets,
not enough Mom;

Too many buildings,
not enough trees;
Too much instruction,
few eyes that see;

Too many strangers,
not enough smiles;
Too many grown-ups
lost their own child;

Too many children
grow up too fast;
Too many old folks
live in the past;

Too many signs
in the heavens above;
Too many newscasts;
not enough love.


White Lady

Bridalveil Fall; I can remember
her gracefully pouring down from the heights
like a long white gown of fine, flowing linen
shaped by the hands of unseen winds;
swirling mist, soft-halo'd rainbows
sifting through a soft spray of pine boughs;
beauty by beauty so radiantly veiled.
--O White Lady, in how many ways
have I longed to see into your unveiled glory,
to part the mist, the soft, shining curtain
of this world around me, this evident "nature"!
How I've longed to look in and gaze upon that mystery,
that beauty concealed and only suggested
by these outward forms. --Why are you hidden?
How I have loved you! Sought to behold you
all of my life, everywhere searching
for you and the gate to my Father's kingdom;
(are you the gate to my Father's kingdom?)

Is it only these eyes which cannot perceive you
because of their dullness, a darkness within me,
or have I been sheilded by some holy mercy
from seeing a brightness for which I'm not ready?
--Still, who but your Lord and Maker and Husband
could see or know you in all of your splendor;
appreciate more than a glimpse of your beauty?

It is said you were there at the dawn of Creation
when the morning stars sang together for joy.
You ageless Wisdom, you playful child
who stood at His side, took part and delighted
in all that He made, especially mankind,
your child and His! We are your children,
and I am your son. Though I've called you my Lady,
my Lady of the Bay, the clear blue waters;
Lady of the Candles before whom I've prayed,
Lady Galadriel, Beatrice...
Divine Lady Wisdom, beloved of Solomon,
counselor, teacher, guide on the path,
delight of the heart, who gives understanding.
And some have seen in you the Blessed Virgin,
Mother of God and all of His brethren;
perfection of earth and high Queen of Heaven.

Mother of Rainbows, now I would call you,
who takes the Light which pours from above
and scatters the colors of all worlds and creatures.
Water and fire and air intermingled,
you blessed white fountain from the high places,
pouring forth Life in free joyous essence;
playing new patterns from His Spirit's mind
with every shift in the wind and sunlight;
rushing to earth in wild, free abandon,
singing the songs of unfinished Creation!
You gentle and powerful softness invincible,
leaping off cliffsides and landing unbroken,
foaming, regathering, rushing ever-onward
to join again the River of Mercy...
Teach me to flow like you, free and fearless,
that I might begin to enter your brightness!


The Wayfarer's Chapel

Like these emerald hills now sparkling clean,
let me be washed in torrents of rain.
Let holy sunfire purge me within
as these aching muscles labor and strain
up the long hill-grades, into the sky
where gleaming feathers hover and fly
out over the silvery face of the sea.

Breathe new breath of life into me
as I climb the stairway beneath the pines
to the garden overlooking the cliffs,
jagged, dark, and surging with foam.
And let me enter the chapel alone,
to lean once more on the clean white stone;
to touch the warm red wood of the beams,
to sense the surrounding peace of the trees,
redwood, oak, and pine all around me;
to see the play of light in their leaves,
to feel the kiss of warmth on my eyes,
and the cooling touch of the ocean breeze.

Let me gaze on the flashing mineral springs,
and hear the trickling fountain sing,
drink of its cleansing, healing flow
here in the speckled light and shadow.
Hide me within the shaded enclosure
amidst green fronds and tender white flowers;
let me find that place in the heart
where there is welcoming peace and shelter,
the rest for which I have striven to enter,
the waiting arms for which I have hungered...

Let me be home at last


Baldwin Hills

Green and rolling upper pastures
stand golden in the falling sun,
a higher, brighter world than this one;
an atmosphere more fit to breathe,
a realm of clarity and peace
where the soul can find release.

I sit amid the waving grass
above the flashing steel and glass.
Here above the roar of engines,
tiny songbirds fill the branches
with their piping gentle voices;
hearing them, my heart rejoices.

Sifting seeds and rushing grass
show the place where His feet pass,
if any have the ears to hear.
His glory shines in blade and wing,
and in each created thing,
if any has the eyes to see.

God forgive us, we are blind,
including me most of the time;
I wish that I could tell you why.
Yet, here upon this sunny day,
with the city spread before me,
I lift outstretched arms to pray:

A welling voice within me cries,
all you lost, open your eyes!
May the knowledge of the holy
cover this entire valley
as the waters do the sea!
May its people know Your mercy;

Open hearts and minds through me!


One

I feel Your presence, know Your embrace
in the cooling touch of seabreeze,
in the sun warm on my face,
in these many green voices,
birds and rushing leaves.

All around me and through me,
throbbing love,
pulsing life,
golden energy,
boundless...

Now I look for You no longer
in the separate,
the solid,
the many,

But in the
One
enfolding
beauty.

All poetry on this page Tom Hoornstra Used by permission. All rights reserved by the copyright owner. If you wish to quote, distribute or otherwise copy any material from this page, please ASK first....=)

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