Three New Year Poems

by Christine Sine

by Ana Lisa de Jong


My Bible begins,
‘When God began creating…’

I’m doubtful though
that when the worlds were born in a big bang
and life burst forth,

that God, at sweep of hand,
announced it as good.

And question
that she then sat to rest, 
her task completed,

laying down her tools.

I know no artist who stops
out of inclination,
the need to create an upswelling urge

breaking with the dawn, 
returning under starlight. 

The work that is true
is never complete,
and ‘good’ to the artist

is ever a faint representation
of the possible ahead.

No, my God is a God of seasonal changes,
like the writer making endless amendments,
inspired revisions.

How the trees tell us this,
and the weather with its benign blue mantle,
its wild winter storms.

Sometimes God appears
all quiet and receptive
as a garden under a soft golden haze.

While every now and then
she will shake the foundations,
wipe clean the canvas,
start again. 


Sometimes we need go to the sea,
where no line is drawn between earth and sky,
and the waves, the colour of the sun,
dance against heaven.

Here the horizon is limitless,
a passage for the setting of the day,
that she might rise on a new dawn
with no obstacle.

Our knowledge that the sun travels on
beyond her disappearance,
is a reminder for us to believe
in continuance, and in beginnings.

Tomorrow she will bow out again,
as a guest aware of not outstaying welcomes,
like most good things
of which the gloss wears off
without loss, the great balancer.

Here by the ocean, the largeness
of everything is the counterpoint
to the small and mundane,
the minutiae we get caught up in.

Anything too small cannot be seen
against the magnitude of heaven.
Except for us walking into the light,
breathing and dreaming of tomorrow, 

as though it all depended
on our conspiring, when really
we are given countless opportunity
every day, endless openings,

to all the ways the light finds us.


What didn’t you do?
Did you not stop a flood
or save a forest from fire?

Did you not stop yourself from falling,
or the careless word from slipping?

Did you not protect another from themselves,
or keep the phantoms from their heels?

Did you not preserve the peace,
or keep your own triggers from rearing?

But who are you? Just human.
And though you’ve given yourself
the role of reconciler,
saver of days

you try in your own might,
like the labouring builders
seeking purchase upon sand. 

Perhaps we are to task ourselves
with the holy work of healing
our own selves first,

acknowledging our intrinsic worth,
alongside our human frailty.
Perceive ourselves forgiven,

that in the awareness of our own broken walk
we might find compassion to lend,
and the mercy which saves, 

in the way it mirrors
the love we’ve each inherited,
can hardly believe we needn’t earn.


photos by Ana Lisa de Jong

The Gate to Heaven: Poems for Contemplation – Download

Free book of poems by one of our community writers, Ana Lisa de Jong called “The Gate to Heaven: Poems for Contemplation”. Enjoy this collection of beautiful, contemplative poems.

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