Hanno van der Bijl

The Oasis

A silver line simmers ahead on the horizon

We stumble forward in a dry and dusty land

Thirsty, so thirsty;

When will we reach the oasis?

The silver line stretches out in the distance

It seems further away than ever before

Shouldn’t we be there by now?

The silver line begins to disappear as night falls

We fall…and as all hope seems ripped from us

A voice says, “The oasis, is behind you.”

Fires

I don’t know if I am burning in Hell

or if I’m being baptized with fire.

The temperature is rising

The dross,

melting like molten lava

oozing down the high places.

How much more is left?

How much of me will be left

when the fires have died down?

Drowning

The scorpion waves encompassed me

grabbed me by the ankles

their pincers, dragging my body across the floor

All was darkness

All was confusion

Unseen forces pounding me from every direction

My head came back out into the light

and saw you running and diving in

I thought, “Everything will be ok.”

We were both up to our necks

Together we floated to stay alive

I did not fear for you were with me

It felt like forever but I made it to shore

But you almost died in the ocean that day.

And now we’re drowning again

Unseen forces pound us from every direction.

I’m diving in – that’s all I can do

When will the next wave come to take us ashore?

When will we be delivered?

Come O, Come O Wave

You pulled us into this

Now push us out.

Until Then

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If you were to give me a religion of grace,
I would adhere to it –
an ideology of realism,
I would subscribe to it –
a philosophy that stands the test of life,
I would believe it –
a politic for the poor,
and I would fight for it.

If you could show me a prophet who preaches with compassion,
I would listen to him –
a priest who sacrificed himself for the faithful,
I would sacrifice myself for him –
a king who rules with justice,
I would pay homage to him.

Tell me about a father who loves me, not for what I do, but for who I am,
and I would love him –
a spirit who makes my tumultuous heart a peaceful home,
and I would let him in.
If you would but show me a god who nursed at his mother’s breast,
I would trust him –
a man who was tempted like me and didn’t fall,
I would respect him –
a Godman who died for me,
I would die for him –
a Son of God who left his Father’s throne to descend into the darkest depths of hell,
I would go anywhere for him –
a martyr so righteous death itself could not hold him,
and I would hope in him.

Until then,
give me the divine community that is
God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Masked Greed

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Injustice stirs my soul
The strong, the weak
The rich, the poor
And all the other polarities
I invent

My righteous anger is righteous
It is also blind and blinding
I can’t see my envy, can you?
I can’t see my greed, can you?
I can’t see
Can you?

Such a Sinner

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“Well, you’ve messed it up so bad
You even shocked yourself
And hurt the ones you love.
How could you do this,
how could this happen?
You’ve been stuck for so long
Passing each day with more dread than the last.

“Pride has blinded your eyes
Guilt has stopped your heart
Hurt has numbed your bones
Shame has covered your face.

“See now why you’re afraid?
See now why you’re angry?
You’re such a hurt sinner.
Come, and be healed.”

Face Me

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I know it hurt. I know it was hard.
I’m amazed that you’ve come this far.
I don’t expect you to jump back from this right now.

I know the weight of the shame –
and all the lost hopes and all the lost dreams.
Seems like forever when you last felt free.

No one can change this
No one can help you
This mountain won’t budge
This wall will not move

That is,
Until you look up,
and face me