Archives for posts with tag: Bible

Someone called my name on the stairs
by Debra Kaufman

kindly, as if to tell me supper was ready.
It was so quiet that day—
my brother napping, my sister away—

I floated down the dark, narrow stairwell.
We lived with our grandmother
and the ghost upstairs who hovered whenever

our mother read us fairy tales.
Once upon a time meant the story truly happened
long ago somewhere far, far away.

The world was fluid then,
only a veil separating here from there,
fireflies and fairies equally alive.

When I got to the kitchen I asked
my mother why she’d called me.
She said she hadn’t.

It must have been Jesus, I said.
Before I could wonder
what He might have wanted,

she laughed. The air crackled,
a mirror cracked,
and the magic flew off in a puff of dust.

IMAGE: Listening by CDD20.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My mother read fairy tales and Bible stories to my siblings and me, a gift I treasure. The stories were as real to me as the rest of my life; only time and miles separated Jesus and Rapunzel from me in our home in rural Illinois. I was about six when I heard my name called, and the memory—the awakening—is a deep, mysterious well I still draw on in my writing, dreaming, and psyche.

debKaufman2022ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Debra Kaufman is the author of the poetry collections God Shattered, Delicate Thefts, The Next Moment, and A Certain Light, as well as three chapbooks, many monologues and short plays, and five full-length plays. Recent poems appeared in Poetry East, North Carolina Literary Review, Tar River Poetry, and Triggerfish Literary Review. She recently produced Illuminated Dresses, a series of monologues by women, in Raleigh, North Carolina, and adapted Paul Green’s 1936 antiwar play Johnny Johnson. Visit her at

Sonnet from Ecclesiastes:
            Ecclesiastes I:9
by Barbara Crooker

There’s nothing new under the sun,
says the prophet, the leaves turning
brilliant colors right on time, one
of the things I love about the fall, this burning
without fire. Unbroken blue skies, home
of harvest, of plenty, combine blades churning
out rivers of golden corn. Our sojourn
on this earth, so brief. But I cannot play dumb,
Storms are more violent, thousand-year floods
more frequent, and the government turns
a blind eye to misery and need. How can we let
it all slip through our fingers? Whiplashed by the moods
of politicians, their fistfuls of cash. Winter will return.
Will we see another spring? I will not be silent.

First published in Relief, 2020

PAINTING: In the Autumn Mist by Tetyana Yablonska (1989).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’d been asked to write something on Ephesians for a specific project. The day I started this poem, my mind must have been off with the fairies, as they say in Ireland, because I went to Ecclesiastes instead. All of the other concerns in the poem were swirling around my mind , large concerns that emerged within the confines of this sonnet. I use “emerged” loosely, as it went through twenty or more drafts. In terms of healing the world, I’m hoping, with this poem, to invite  readers to pay close attention to the natural world, to raise awareness about climate change, and to encourage everyone to speak up (and vote) to keep our beautiful planet going.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barbara Crooker is the author of nine books of poetry:  Radiance, winner of the 2005 Word Press First Book Award and finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize; Line Dance ( 2008), winner of the 2009 Paterson Award for Excellence in Literature; More (2010); Gold (2013); Small Rain (2014); Barbara Crooker: Selected Poems (2015), Les Fauves (2017), The Book of Kells (2018), winner of the 2018 Best Poetry Book Award, Poetry by the Sea; and Some Glad Morning (2019), Pitt Poetry Series, University of Pittsburgh Poetry Press. Her writing has received a number of awards, including the WB Yeats Society of New York Award (Grace Schulman, judge), the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award (Stanley Kunitz, judge), and three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships. Her work appears in journals and anthologies, including Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania and The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Her work has been read on The Writer’s Almanac, and she has been an invited reader at The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, Poetry by the Sea, the SoCal Poetry Festival, Poetry @ Round Top, The Festival of Faith and Writing, and the Library of Congress. Visit her and find links to her books at Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

by Simen Moflag Talleraas

     I love those who love me
and those who seek me find me.

     I am what I am
          nothing more than one
               who sings love songs
                    with a beautiful voice

                         I am the world’s light as
                              long as I am in it.

                              I am the man
                         who wants to borrow
                    knowledge of the
               baked bread
          and the garlic


Exodus 3:14 | I am who I am
Proverbs 8:17 | I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me
1 Corinthians 15:10 | I am what I am
Ezekiel 33:32 | nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice
John 9:5 | I am the world’s light as long as I am in it
John 18:6 | I am the man
Matthew 5:42 | who wants to borrow
Ephesians 3:4 | knowledge of the
Isaiah 44:19 | baked bread
Numbers 11:5 | and the garlic


How quaint it may sound,
That I merely arranged,
Some passages of text
Into this weird context

But as simple as is
My love for poetry
Guided me to the
Poetic structure

IMAGE: “Tree Against a Yellow Background” by Odilon Redon (1901).


ABOUT AUTHOR SIMEN MOFLAG TALLERAAS: Norwegian citizen, born in the 90s. Fond of found poetry, surrealist imagery and all forms of experimental poetic literature. Several Norwegian newspapers have published his socially conscious poetry.

PSALM 11.5
by Patrick T. Reardon

The LORD is mine.
I shall not want.

He maketh me.
He leadeth me.

He restoreth me.
He leadeth me.

Yea, though I walk,
I will fear no evil:
for thou art with
thy rod and thy staff.

Thou preparest.
Thou anointest.
My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness
and I will dwell.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Is there a poem, maybe half-good, in half a great psalm?

IMAGE: “Andean Good Shepherd” by Father John Guiliani, an icon artist known for depicting God and the saints in the faces of Native American peoples. Father Giuliani states, “My intent in depicting Christian saints as Native Americans is to honor them and to acknowledge their original presence on this land.” For more about Father John Guiliani, visit


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon is the author of the recently published Catholic and Starting Out, available from actapublications. Visit him at


Merrill Farnsworth is one of the most gifted artists we’ve ever encountered. (She’s pictured at right in New York City, June 2012, at the venue where her play Jezebel’s Got the Blues was performed as part of The Puzzle Festival of New Works.) Merrill is an award-winning playwright and songwriter, actor, short story writer, and poet (and probably a few more things I’ve forgotten). Silver Birch Press was honored to publish her play Jezebel’s Got the Blues, which has received many 5-star reviews on, available here. Here’s one of my favorites:

5 stars: “Jezebel” has got style and class,” by Thomas Neilson: These monologues and dialogues are spiritual, profound, irreverent, funny, and thought-provoking. I loved all these tales, although my personal favorite was the story of Noah’s Ark told from the perspective of the rat on board. The author — Merrill Farnsworth — has a way of turning a traditional bible story on its head, bringing it alive, and making it meaningful and profound in a new way. I highly recommend this book.


In June 2012, Silver Birch Press released Jezebel’s Got the Blues…And Other Works of Imagination, a collection of performance pieces by Merrill Farnsworth. The same month, Merrill took the show to New York City, where it was among a select few featured in The Puzzle Festival of New Work. Merrill recently received a letter from one of the attendees and was kind enough to share it (see below — emphasis mine!).

TEXT OF LETTER: Encountering something familiar from another angle may give us insights attainable in no other way. Merrill Farnsworth uses this approach in her ingenious collection of monologues and dialogues inspired by the Old Testament. In her hands, these well known stories come off the page and into the hearts and imaginations of those who witness her skill. By giving voice to the rouge on Jezebel’s face, we are prompted to see the woman who is so much more than her calling-card name. By giving voice to the scissors that cut off Samson’s hair, we are invited to see the frivolous dimensions of one who relies on brute strength to navigate the world. These and other personifications open windows to meanings often missed in these great pieces of the Biblical record. For anyone who wants to probe the power of the stories of our faith, Jezebel’s Got The Blues is a find. Get it and be ready to laugh loud and hard and to weep some tears of sweet recognition.”

The Reverend Susan Blackburn Heath, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (Columbia, South Carolina)

Find Jezebel’s Got the Blues at here.