Given…Free Will

Given…Free Will

By J. Lillie

Divine Interruptions, repetitions








All gather at the wedding or casket.

Always the same, crazy drunk dancers








Green bean


We can’t escape the circle.

I can’t say, “I won’t walk the circumference of the dance floor”

Neither can you. But still we say it.


Will not


Moved. I


Break the


We end up on the other side anyway,

Having never moved at all, or run at it

Like some desperate groom chasing his bride.

Some old man chasing oxygen from plastic tubes.







Circle of Life

Guided Tour


Every vacation, work week, church service,

math problem, sentence, curriculum, culture,

biology, clock, world, solar system,

galaxy, universe, cell, family dinner,

 baseball game, track meet, sermon, and campaign

Has its order




Invocation, Gospel, Law, communion, committal, after party

Drawing us to our ends. We are all stuck

In the Divine equation, wedding, funeral

We are all stuck with our free will.


Just a Two-Numb-Fingered Musician


At our last C.cada artists gathering the group project was simple poetry. I wrote several poems and here is one from the “I Am Genre”

Just a Two- Numb- Fingered Musician

I am  just a two-numb-fingered musician.

I wonder what I am going to play next.

I hear the sound of shofars.

I see vultures in Har Megiddo.

I want to see the Rider Whose Eyes Blaze Like Fire astride his whitened steed.

I am  just a two-numb-fingered musician.

I pretend to be a superhero.

I feel brave enough to defeat the Dread Dormamu.

I touch the Time Stone.

I worry that I will miss the bigger picture.

I cry when I hear the song, Hiding Place, especially that second verse.

I am just a two-numb-fingered musician.

I understand Jesus is Lord.

I say, “He’s my Savior!”

I dream visions of the future with background music.

I try to worship through them.

I hope my song tells people of the bigger picture.

I am just a two-numb-fingered musician.

Emrys Of the Fields

Image result for emrys and Vortigern

And why must you know from where I come?

Carmuthen, Aelecti or Demetia’s throne?

An incubus’ child or

A son of a desert mother?

And why must you know from where I come?

The walls still fall.

Don’t they still blame the dragons’ work

On the Devil’s child?


And why must you know from where I come?

I am Emrys of the fields.

Ambrosius chained.

Neither madness nor lineage ever speak my choice.


And why must you know from where I come?

 We all see dragons white and red.

We all see the boar from Tintagel arise.

We all  master error.We all choose our God.

Merlin’s Lament

Image result for Merlin and the tree

And in the end what does it matter?

All the mists of Avalon?

All the mysteries covered in wode?

All the shapes I’ve shifted to make the kings come home?


And in the end what does it matter?

I’ve spoken from the shadows.

I’ve answered my fate and said my prayers.

I’ve built this Camelot behind the throne.


And in the end what does it matter?

Has Morganna really gone?

Has Arthur sailed the Way?

Has Nimue ever loved me alone?


And in the end what does it matter?

I’ve still met the eschatos

I’ve become the tree.

I’ve let the magic drain from my bones.

The Thin Box

 A thin box on a pedestal leaning back

In a white room full of empty pregnant things

A white room and everything in it makes

The thin box cast a shadow in the wrong direction.

  It is the impossible shadow that moves against the cast of illumination. It winds away from reason even as it makes its own perfect sense.

It runs away from the thin box, surrounds the thin box and fills it up with nothing.

The upside down shade is stuffed in the thin box by a God who loves a mess and by man who loves to hurry.

The Nature Of Miracles

Cataclysmic shift.

Candidates with no faces wearing “Team Jesus” Tee shirts walk through the waters of baptism.

The crowds cheer.

Coppers click the plate and for a moment all’s right.

One nameless man rises from the water and asks “What do I do now?”

Someone cries.

“Make America great again!”

Turbulence and earthquakes,

Conflagrations in the hills,

Conflation in the aisles,

Hurricanes in the Caribbean,

Black Lives Matter and MeToo.


Jesus walks the narthex to the altar,

All the space between

Is all there really is.

But they won’t tell you that.

They want you to think there’s more.

The nameless man asks “What do I do now?”

Famous lady’s coat reads, “I don’t care do U?”

Coats of many colors lead to Pharaoh’s chambers through the prison yard.

“Break it down” says God.

Saints walk through the waters of baptism wearing tee shirts that read “Team Jesus”.

In the cocoon of first world problems

Among the fallacies of riches

Catching fire is crazy.

Casting nets is calculated risk.

We believe a lie.

Fall directly into God’s hands.

The idol  topples in the puddles of red, white and blue tempura paint.

Yellowstone burbles holocaust.

Wormwood casts through the cosmos making for its mark.

We praise the microchip that posts our position and pays our bills.

Everyone thinks it’s just grand as the temples rise.

The faceless, nameless know the truth.

Cluck the words no one can hear.

The world dances to the tune of “I Feel Fine”.

Inoculated against the unchipped beasts who starve in the gutters,

Losing their heads in the frantic refusal to the gods of empire.

What do I do now?

And isn’t that the nature of miracles after all?


Fire and darkness


My Little White Dog Makes Me Think


My Little White Dog Makes Me Think

by JE Lillie

I remembered

My little white dog bursting out of his night-crate.

He leant his nine-pound panting frame, more fur than skin and bones,

Against my bent legs as I fixed

Him in his blue harness, white sweater and red leash.

He loved me just because he was dog and I was man.

It makes me think how

My little white church bursts with songs on a Sunday morning.

Ladies in their summer white cotton dresses, “Hallelujah!” and “Amen!”.

Meanwhile the steeple leans its fragile cross

against an opaque sky as the culture clamps down with a burning American flag.

They hate me because I am Christian and they are not.

I will realize

My wedding garment glistening with a holy halo.

I shall burst forth behind a white horse leaning upon a broken Zion.

I will be bound with unbreakable chords:

Faith, Hope and Love!  I will look into the fiery eyes of the One who loved me first.

I will love Him because I am man and He is God.


I have been listening to the music of Dear Evan Hanson over the last few days. Several of the songs really resonate with me.”You Will Be Found” is one of those.


Jeannie Mayo, one of our nation’s foremost youth pastors gave a prophetic warning at a youth conference I attended almost a decade back. She stated that as a church and as a culture we must begin remembering and loving our “question mark kids”…the kids on the fringes…the kids left alone by society. She pointed out that almost all of the school shooters to that point had come from the fringes of school society. They were not popular. They were not loved. They were often bullied. They felt given up on and had given up on themselves. She warned that the subgroup called “question mark kids” was growing and that if we did not begin to love them, then the violence we had seen to that point was a drop in the bucket.

 Truer words I guess were never spoken. We seem as a culture to be missing the proverbial forest for the trees here. I guess it’s easier to blame guns than ourselves for what has happened in our country. I guess it’s more convenient to think this is a problem for Capitol Hill to solve rather than to think this is a problem our community, our church, our families need to do something about. I am pretty sure nothing is changing on Capitol Hill anytime soon where the issues of school violence are concerned. This is our job folks. We are a dot in the snowstorm called life. The question mark kids can’t find us. We must find them!

All these thoughts inspired this poem called “Blanks”.


By JE Lillie




One dot says

“I’m here for you.”

Somewhere in the vast

Snowstorm called life someone

Waits for me and promises love.

But the blizzard obscures my sight.

I can’t find that dot. Hope turns to hate.

Hate turns to madness. Madness begets

Violence. It stirs a plan.

I write it down, practice.

Someone help me

Please! While I’m




Of Time and Eternity



The space

Between breaths.

The expanse lives-

Ceases by its touch.

It has its day and night,

Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn.

Moon and stars by their orbits tell

The story. It’s a passing thing, but

They also speak of something more.

Endless life and light are there

In a clockless realm.

Change changes change.


Is no



Generation Gap


Generation Gap

I forget, sometimes, the ocean between us when we stand close together, the language barrier when we talk for hours thinking we understand each other.

That you expect the world to serve up justice and equity, while I’m content with my morning eggs and toast and a clucking of the tongue at the morning paper, seems a minor difference, until you start to raging at the machine expecting answers. You see, I get it that machines can’t talk and never could. I stopped expecting to understand why a long time ago.You still want to know everything and think you can.

That just makes you mad and me a little sad, but still we regard each other from our separate orbits, thinking that somehow we are the same.

Blood is thicker than water except when the cumidin is introduced. Then it’s just the same, except different, and it doesn’t hold things together anymore. And so we are.

I am the cliffs and oceans banging together all, craggy and barely pieced together now. You are the southern  wind and summer solstice, always bright and light.

Real and hopeful, two sides of the same coin, never seeing eye to eye.

Which is the more enduring? The cliffs will turn to dust and the oceans run dry while light and breath remain. I will go on into the generation gap and hope you don’t follow.