Behind the Cross

July 4, 2010

and this is a mighty God–
God thundering above loudest waterfall,
shaking earth with just a flick of finger,
coming upon mankind with black-cloud fury–
raising waves, pouring rain, shouting wind–
all holy power brought to bear
in justice against filthy sinful man.

and you stand trembling
watching wrathful storm front towering before you,
waiting for black clouds to explode–
lightning to fire forth–
deserving of this mighty holy judgment.

but this is a merciful God–
in one moment, everything awesome and holy and eternal
pressed into dying flesh,
thorn-crowned, nail-pounded, crucified–
all the pure power, just wrath hurled at you
landing, instead, on God made man.

stand you then, behind the cross,
or kneel down perhaps, or fall flat–
seeing the fullness of holiness and love
all for you.

and this is your God–
all His greatness and might
shielding you, protecting you, defending you now,
behind His cross.

rest then in peace.

mighty holiness loves you.


Inspired by David’s song in 2 Samuel 22 and today’s discussion in Sunday School.


Recipe for a Boy’s Summer
Erin Kilmer

take one July day.
add a bucketful of sunshine
and blend well.

mix in a splash of hose-water,
a sprinkle of grass-clippings,
and the juice of one watermelon slice
dripping down a boy’s chin.

in a separate bowl,
stir together four lightning bugs
with a tablespoon of good clean dirt,
half a dozen mosquito bites,
some fresh sweet corn,
and a nice, cool glass of ice tea.

combine and mix well.

pack into a wading pool or four-man tent,
glaze with a nice SPF 65,
and dust lightly with beach sand.

allow to bake all day long
until an internal temperature of
100 and humid is reached.

garnish with happy smiles,
and serve immediately.

(other ingredients may be substituted.
for best results,
try a different combination daily.)


written for L.L. Barkat’s Random Acts of Poetry prompt at High Calling Blogs. The prompt was “a tablespoon of summer“– to take a small thing about summer and write a poem. I cheated a little, because I loved the whole tablespoon idea and the recipe just kind of followed. Lots of sweet little summer moments are included, so I hope it works! 🙂

Photos by my husband; I realized after I uploaded that I used my watermark instead of his. I’m sure he’ll forgive me. Right, dear? 🙂


June 29, 2010

Erin Kilmer

I am here, there,
it seems some days

where I want to be
humming with the churn
of the dishwasher
and spinning around
dizzy in the laundry

and they are calling me
with glue bottles stuck shut
and scraped
knees and lost cups
and I am here with them

what I wanted
but dizzy, still, and hurrying

clatter on the table
with the plates and knives
and jug of milk
and when will Daddy be home

did you brush your teeth,
change your socks,
don’t wrestle in the living
room because I am here
wrestling with the pots and pans

and each day we are here,
and there, library, park,
hiding in the basement, sweeping
the floor and folding blankets

and it is me with
them and them with
me and that is what is meant,
what we are meant for,
never easy but worth it

water the tomatoes, knead
our daily bread and read living
Words and clear the table so
it can be a shipyard again until dinnertime

three meals around this table every day
and we grow, they grow, with
buttered toast and eggs scrambled
whisk falling on the floor, on
the baby

am I coordinated enough for this dance

I will find my footing,
and we will all be together
ringing round rosies and doing
all these good things while my head spins,

dizzy with all I have to do,
dizzy with all they teach me,
dizzy with grace

Soaking In

June 10, 2010

Soaking In
by Erin Kilmer

Summer stretches before me–
a gentle hammock swung between
spring’s blossomed branches
And autumn’s fabulous foliage.

And though I know
that much of her rest is but mirage,
I also am quite sure that dishes will wait
while I go out and revel in her warm ways.

June 3, 2010

It is my weakness, this I know.

It is my flesh that looks at this shadow
and sees solid fear-bricked wall.

My flesh that cannot see beyond this curtain–
this thin and gauzy veil.

My selfish heart sees only this lonely place,
my hot tears running down and breaking heart.

I see pain and fear and just the unknown alone–
my flesh the fool, my heart the weakling.

Oh, cover me in grace and mercy,
for I am weak and afraid.

Take this selfish from my heart, and give me peace
and joy for one who comes closer to Your presence.

Oh to be with You now, with You,
on the other side, waiting for Your redeemed to join us,

instead of here, watching and fearing as one I love
steps closer day by day to eternity.

But I am here, now, living, alive, in this life not yet everlasting,
in a home alive with young vibrant life,

and You are here now, guiding me my Shepherd,
just as You guide all Your beloved through the shadow.

Oh, flesh, dying day by day, you will not triumph.
Death is swallowed up in victory,

and you will not conquer me with fear
or with anger or bitterness because

this flesh and this earth and this dying
cannot hold His redeemed down.

I will weep, yes, and grieve, and mourn,
because this is night and shadow and pain,

but joy comes in the morning, Son rising,
and these goodbyes we say are never forever,

but He is and home is and life is,
when pain and tears and partings part.

Oh guide me, carry me, carry us,
for we need You, Conqueror of the grave.

You are Strength in weakness, this I know.

Erin Kilmer

Valley Deep

June 2, 2010

Valley Deep
by Erin Kilmer

It is only a shadow.
What is there to fear in a shadow?
No matter how dark,
how deep,
it is just a shadow,
and it cannot hurt us, not really.

I see it ahead–
valley and shadow–
and I do fear,
though I know a shadow is just
a substance-less thing.

I do not want to walk through the shadow.

I am afraid.

Walk with me, dear Shepherd?

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Powerless, Part 2

May 30, 2010

to see part 1, click here.

Powerless, part 2
by Erin Kilmer

I know you can see me here
when you look out your window.

I’m waiting for the wall to come down,
for the chains to be loosed.

I wait for you to walk out free,
holding hands with your beloved,

children romping around your feet.
I pray it will happen someday,

and we will walk to the market
and feel the firm, ripe peaches and plums.

We will picnic in the park with the ants
and fried chicken and corn on the cob.

But until then– I am without and you are within.
We cannot change that fact.

Although I sometimes find myself
bearing my own chains, enslaved for my own reasons,

I have been allowed to walk free.
I cannot understand this. Life is not fair.

I have been given a life outside the walls,
and I hurt to know that you see me here

with my fresh fruit and my red balloons
and the laughter of a high swing on a blue-skied day.

I never want my freedom to hurt you, there,
suffering behind stone. But I cannot lock myself with you.

I must live the life I have. I must enjoy my freedom
with gratitude. But I never stop thinking of you,

and my knees wear with prayers when I find
my bloodied fists beat against stone for nothing.

I pray and I love and my heart breaks and I wish
nothing but the best for you. And I live.


May 28, 2010

Erin Kilmer

Every day I come to your house
not knowing what I will find.

Some days, the doors are flung open.
Some days, all is shut up tight.

Today I see that a wall has grown up
Around your brick-walled house,

And when I peer through the cracks
in the wall I see that the doors are

locked and barred; the windows locked
tight. I can barely see you.

I am helpless to tear down the bricks,
helpless to fling open the doors like

Superwoman coming to the rescue,
saving the day with well-chosen words

and a blast of humorous irony.
I am no superwoman. She is not what you need anyway.

You are so alone in there. I can tell.
I try to be your comfort, your lifeline.

But my words seem so trite and useless
when I realize your chains and your prison.

I bang on the wall till my fists bloody
from its rough bricks. The wall is unmoved.

I scream and I cry and I pray and I am
helpless. I can do nothing about this wall,

these locks and bars and curtains pulled tight,
these chains. Nothing. I will bring you soup

and warm bread and fresh fruit.
And I will never ever go away.

When you look through the cracks, I will be here,
outside the wall, loving you. Never doubt it.

Construction Zone

May 25, 2010

She came home today
from the doctor’s office
with a Barbie sticker on her
fat baby belly.

It took me by surprise–
after these years of boys I have
grown accustomed to
dump trucks and race cars.

And all I could think
is how different this
whole girl thing is–
what with the dolls and the

tutus and the pink pink pink
on everything. No one calls
a little boy “Daddy’s little bumblebee”
or “sweet baby butterfly.”

And I don’t even want to imagine
the differences there will be someday–
when she has entered and then left
the Barbie stage.

But today I’m simply left with the thought,
as I pull the sticker off her onesie,
that I’d be more comfortable with Barbie
if she were driving a dump truck.


Thinking about Barbies, thanks to Marcus Goodyear and Tweetspeak Poetry. Click the links to learn more.

I Don’t Know Why the Caged Bird Fails
by Erin Kilmer

my parents stopped one night
randomly on the way back
from somewhere else

and bought a bird.

they bought a blue parakeet,
named him/her/it Charlie,
and hung the cage in Dad’s study.

i think it was a mid-life crisis.

and now, more than ten years later,
Charlie still perches
in that cage, afraid of shadows–

my parent’s paranoid parakeet.

it makes the sounds it hears–
computer-mouse clicks
and soft feeder-bird cheeps–

going crazy if you come too close.

and when we visit,
my parents point out the little bird,
gender unknown, and Mom says to the kids,

“say hello to Aunt/Uncle Charlie.”

which proves, as i have always maintained,
that my family is at least
as weird as i am.