Bones Of My Garden

Bones Of My Garden

by Jane Cocke Perdue

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467062138
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 10/21/2011
Pages: 132
Sales rank: 896,639
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.34(d)

Read an Excerpt

Bones of My Garden


By Jane Cocke Perdue

AuthorHouse

Copyright © 2011 Jane Cocke Perdue
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4670-6213-8


Chapter One

Bone and Flesh

Flesh of your flesh,
Bone of your bone,
In this fresh luxuriant space,
This place of no shame,
You, my rib, my Adam,
Heard a warning,
A prohibition.

The condition of our bliss
Sounded in the morning.
A forbidden tree exists
Here where we till
And tend the ground.

Flesh of my flesh,
Hold my hand
So that God's command
Never to touch fruit forbidden
Will not be broken.

That hidden Serpent,
Coiled for invitation,
Hisses temptation—
His words spoken smooth
As pomegranate seeds
Would spoil our ecstasy,
Begging pride to reach
Toward near branches
Where temptation dangles
Ripening in sunlight.

Bone of my bone,
Hold my hand.
Keep it from grasping
The downfall
Of humankind.
Do not leave me alone
Here with God
In Paradise.


Noah

No safety or calm
Amid constant cacophony—
Screeching, screaming, scratching,
Stomping, bellowing, howling
Mass of fur and feathers,
Creatures rescued from oblivion
By my cunning and persistence
And God's insistence.

Water rising,
Wind threatening,
Boat rocking
For forty eternal days of chaos.

Finally beyond forever,
A strange stillness,
A bird returning with hope
Clamped in its beak,
An olive branch,
Salvation's symbol.
I was forever faithful
And God returned the favor.


Looking Back

Sand whipped and stung my eyes.
Silent pain does not compare
To burn of losing home and place.
I turned to stare through heat's fire waves
Wanting one last brief glance—
Sights familiar to retrieve
For losses I would always grieve.

Suddenly I froze in place
Not able to retrace my steps
Or move ahead to unknown space,
My eyes shed salt in streaming tears,
Freezing me into a pillar of fears,
Rooted by my past, now dead.
Ahead, the destination God had planned
As Lot's reward for faithfulness.

In one flash ray of desert sun
I have become a metaphor
Of dying grief, without a name—
"Lot's Wife" whose unforgiven sin
Was looking back towards her home,
Never to begin again.


The Connector

Father Abraham with progeny equaling the stars
Cast aside Hagar's Ishmael to desert wandering
While his beloved only son by Sara,
Promised for eons,
Becomes of import only as a connector—
Deceitful son Jacob more memorable
Than laughing Father Isaac.

The link between tribal beginnings
And the nation Israel
May well have been sacrificed on Moriah,
Almost anonymous in Biblical lore.

Isaac, the connector,
In the chain of chosen ones
From Ur to Jerusalem,
Quietly walking the fields of his father,
Tending the herds,
Tenting,
Staying close to home,
Obedient to his father's selection,
Allowing himself comfort
With the chosen companion
As in the tent, tears fell
On Rebecca's breast.

And as an old man, senile or sensible,
Choosing placation over peace
At the price of the elder twin,
Setting up a lasting feud
Of brotherly hate
With resolution yet to come.

And as all scoundrels, so like us
To give relief and satisfaction.
We choose one over the other,
Full-well knowing the difference
Between the hunter
And the one who tends the home fires.


Esau's Birthright

Exhaustion my nemesis—
Barren wasteland, cold, alone,
Frightened in darkness
As shadows move
To merge with terror.

Hunger becomes panic
In desert's emptiness.
Imagined scents
Of red meat juices
Drip from cacti thorns.

Smooth, rounded rocks
Become warm bread loaves.
I ache for home.
Driven by desire,
Far off I see smoke
Rising in promise
And vow to give all
For just a taste.

My supplanter waits
Cradling a steaming bowl
Of blood-red stew—
His victory assured.


Leah, the Sister

The sight of Jacob caught my heart in hope,
Entering my father's home with swagger,
His eyes making inventory of our stores
And devouring my shapely sister Rachel.
He and father talked into the night
And struck a deal, a servitude of sorts,
Extended by custom and the trickery of a veil:
I would be the price for Jacob's Rachel.

The gift of many sons will turn his choice.
He must begin to look at me, the mother,
And know I am his open vessel
From whom has come his progeny.
But barren Rachel is still the one with favor,
His preference painful and transparent.
I am the bearer of his children;
She, the bearer of his heart.


Jacob's Journey

Nightmares invade sleep in homeward journeys.
Dreams resurrect separation's guilt,
Spilling remorse into wakefulness,
Sketching in the conscience clear regret.
Struggles end in maimed body parts.
Crippled by pressure of bargains struck with God
To satisfy the safety of our future,
In pain and dread, we face dawn's light
And cross Jabbok where our dearest possessions,
Unaware of survival's fight for blessedness,
Have been dispersed to wait our coming.


David's Diary

Dark dreaded predators
soundlessly prowling the perimeter
listening for helpless bleats
signaled from their victims.
Saul's incessant jealousy,
deception and depression.
Countless outlaw battles
and conniving covenants.
Sorrow diminished victory;
sin defeated faithfulness.
Nathan, my ceaseless conscience.
Bathsheeba's first-born dead.
Absalom's rebellion and hanging death—
My heartfelt sorrow,
bending into dying years,
the knowledge of my sins.

Goliath was the easiest.


God's Supplication

Strange— this misplaced manger
resting beside skyscrapers
beehives filled with workers
buzzing for survival.

Strange— this cattle trough
sounding a newborn's cry
heard on lonesome highways
ribbon-like beside refineries
working overtime
fueling our human races.

Strange— this hay-filled box
contradicting our chaos
startling us to hear
instant messaging from angels.

Strange—this barn bassinet
holding helplessness
infant arms reaching out
God's supplication
inviting us to love.

The Beginning, Alpha,
filling our days
with grace amazing
facing whatever comes
before Omega.


One Question

What must I do?
What else?
The question
like wind-whipped desert sand
stings my conscience.
What must I do?
What deed is needed?

Does He not know
my just rulings
faithful and obedient
to Moses' law?

From childhood
I have grown in wisdom
and stature
as did Samuel
in ancient times.
Now I am mature
but young, a ruler...

God rewards the righteous
with abundant possessions.
My cup overflows.

I have only one question
seeking to affirm
my right behavior.
Only one question:
What must I do?
I have done it all.
He will commend.
Instead, He sends me away
bewildered ...

Did He say "All my goods?"


A Tree to Climb

Come down, Zacchaeus!
Come down from your tree!
Right now I am coming to your home
To dine, break bread, drink wine
And talk of rejection, yours and mine—
Of being misunderstood, maligned.
You will not have to climb again to see.
That tree is mine...
On Calvary.


Who Not?

We reclined
with wine and bread
that dreaded last time together,
some still wanting
Roman restitution
throughout the land
led by our band
of faithful followers.
Others argued
claiming favor
in the kingdom coming.

He was silent,
then He turned
and softly spoke
words that echo
even now:

One of you ...

How?
When?
Why?

Would we betray
this wise and gentle One?
At that moment
we all knew like David
when Nathan spew
the words:
Thou art the man!
In the shame
of the next few hours,
we each
would have Judas's name


The Gerasene

At first a brand new life ahead,
healed in a moment from the dead,
chains falling from my hands and feet
freeing me to clasp my savior.

My desire was to follow Him
wherever he worked miracles,
my testimony in my bearing—
proof that sanity could be restored..

But He told me to go home
and tell news of thwarted demons
to those who knew me best,
who remembered years of my insanity.

Often I wonder how it would have been
had I not stayed in this familiar place
where legions that possessed me
live every day in suspicious glances.

No one has forgotten the script written
in which I starred as a mad man.


Another Story

Another story line
for that famous prodigal ...

The younger son does not return
with pig-sty mud clinging to his feet
and marks of squalor stamped
on his face and robe
badges of worthlessness
when he shuffles up the dusty road
his father running to meet him
without dignity.

The father's vigil is endless
as wind-blown dust creates false hopes
and movement of distant animals
mimic human shadows in the sun.

The prodigal never comes
falling for forgiveness
begging for servanthood
dreading his sullen brother
as the music and dancing begin.

The father through the years
remembers—
the birth
the child
the youth—
watching emptiness ...


Economics

What is the gain?
Wall Street or my soul?
Where is heaven's profit?
Adam Smith's "invisible hand"
writes history's tomes
while God's omnipotent hand,
pierced by greed's nail,
bleeds for us
who read market reports
clutching our thirty pieces of silver.


Vultures Roosted

Clacking in ceremony,
vultures gather at the edges
tearing His words apart—
tongues sharpened
by the two-sided file
of consensus and opinion:

"No credentials, this son of Joseph,
His stories confounding,
His followers undesirable,
His message lacking
The Baptist's fire,
such arrogant claims,
His crowd diminishing,
His treasury low;
He will not last many days ..."

And Jesus continues walking
to Jerusalem,
to Gethsemane,
to Golgotha.

Had vultures roosted
in the branches
of that very tree
chopped down to make a cross
for such a routine,
hillside crucifixion?

The Word rejected
as God turns the world
upside down
in Resurrection.


Luck of the Draw

Judas was dead,
hanging in disgrace
to be replaced
in the group of twelve.

The plan? To draw lots
between Matthias and me.
I, Barsabbas, wanted in.
Had I not been
with each of them
in villages and fields
when Jesus taught
and healed
and gathered crowds?

Had I not paid my dues
by leaving friends
and family,
going where He went,
sometimes hungry,
always thirsty, spent?

I watched their vying
for position
in His mission
even as He told
of His own dying.

Fair or not,
lots drawn decided.
my life's direction.
Just as I feared—
with one selection
my future disappeared.

Matthias won the draw.


The Banquet

No silver goblets, white linens,
wine, reclining guests
or servants offering trays
heavy with abundance.
No candelabras shining,
cradling soft flames,
or imported dancers
swaying between banquet tables.
No native tricksters
with confounding magic,
but a seaside fire
burned to embers,
waiting to welcome workers
with gifts of food and warmth
at a long day's end,
or a lonely place crowded
with guests invited,
bringing baskets of fish and bread—
friends and neighbors
daring to divide their meal
with strangers.

And the Godhead presides—
Eternally presides—
over a twilight fire
or the communion
of a hillside picnic.

Yes, that is the Kingdom!
The Kingdom come
on earth as it is in Heaven!

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Bones of My Garden by Jane Cocke Perdue Copyright © 2011 by Jane Cocke Perdue. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

1. Bone and Flesh....................3
2. Noah....................4
3. Looking Back....................5
4. The Connector....................6
5. Esau's Birthright....................7
6. Leah, the Sister....................8
7. Jacob's Journey....................9
8. David's Diary....................10
9. God's Supplication....................11
10. One Question....................12
11. A Tree to Climb....................13
12. Who Not?....................14
13. The Gerasene....................15
14. Another Story....................16
15. Economics....................17
16. Vultures Roosted....................18
17. Luck of the Draw....................19
18. The Banquet....................20
19. Pentecost....................21
20. They Told Me....................22
1. Generation Gap....................25
2. Good at Death....................26
3. Two Little Girls....................27
4. The Lion....................28
5. The Intruder....................29
6. A Visit....................30
7. Reminders....................31
8. Daughter....................32
9. Well-kept....................33
10. A Wedding....................34
11. Arlington....................35
12. Double-Wide....................36
13. Deer Boy....................37
14. Baby Grandchild Crying....................38
15. Grandma's Game....................39
16. Crawler....................41
17. Your Gifts....................42
18. Release....................43
19. The Princess....................44
20. Unknown....................45
21. Fossil Finder....................46
22. Unnamed Fears....................47
23. Line Up....................48
24. Survivors....................49
25. Wishful Thinking....................50
26. Young Farmer....................51
27. Déja Vu....................52
28. Little League....................53
29. Star Gazing....................54
30. Sissy....................55
31. Too Many of You....................56
32. The Inevitable....................58
1. Directions....................60
2. Schizophrenic Steve....................61
3. Deaf Ears....................62
4. The Gardner....................63
5. For Sale....................64
6. Cardboard Communion....................65
7. Angels....................67
8. Which Pair?....................68
9. Apartment Carpeting....................69
10. Waiting for the Flood....................70
11. Bridges....................71
12. Distilled....................72
13. Curbside Pick-up....................73
14. Slow Death....................74
15. What Difference?....................75
16. Vacation Ends....................76
17. Contained....................77
18. Living Evidence....................78
19. Just a Cup....................79
20. Two Athletes....................80
21. What Did We know?....................81
22. The Descent....................82
23. The Ascent....................83
24. Untended....................84
25. Groupings....................85
26. Challenge....................86
27. Time's Obsession....................87
28. Just the Other Day....................89
29. Assisted Living....................90
30. Resting Place....................91
31. Digital Silence....................92
32. Hallway of Confusion....................93
33. Biopsy....................94
1. Changing Seasons....................96
2. Contrasts....................97
3. Survival....................98
4. El Camino Real....................99
5. Hill Country Collusion....................100
6. Morning on the Mississippi....................101
7. Across Central Park....................102
8. The Concourse....................103
9. The Bowery Mission....................104
10. Reading The New Yorker....................105
11. Oklahoma....................106
12. The Pacific....................107
1. Cottonwoods....................109
2. Bullfight....................110
3. Tradeoff....................112
4. Live Oak....................113
5. Cavalry of Flowers....................114
6. The Mesquite....................115
7. The Prophet....................116
8. Wounded Moments....................117
9. Coming Home....................118
10. Mountain Climbing in Sandals....................119
11. Joy....................120

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