Thursday, 25 August 2016

Walking Home

We are all walking home.
Such a long walk.
In the light, and in the dark.
Sometimes hand in hand,
and sometimes alone.
Sometimes, we stride forward
steady on the path.
Other times we trip on the stones,
on the verge.

In the day we can clearly see our way.
His smile, our light.
We know his hand of blessing,
and his gentle guidance.
While at night we feel our way,
and struggle with what we thought we knew
so well;
what had seemed clear to us in the light of day.
We encounter ourselves.

We are all walking home.
And light and shade define our days;
just as sun and moon distinguish
day from night.
If there were no questions or regrets;
struggles, slips
or back-tracks,
then we would have arrived.
We have not arrived.

Yet we may look, and find,
the blessing in the night.
Those things we cannot see in the daytime,
have a way of surfacing in the dark.
And without our eyes to see,
we feel instead, their edge.
And realise again, our deep need for him,
who, although we cannot see him near,
keeps vigil by our side.

Ana Lisa de Jong
August 2016


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Momentarily

Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand


For a moment,

I gaze at you.
And its as though
the curtains of heaven are pulled aside
to let you through.
As though you bend
down to kiss my upheld brow.
So briefly, that I

mesmerized,

struggle to contain your presence,
and frame your memory.
And must keep searching,
all the length
of my days and nights,
for glimpses of you,
alive again,

in my sight.

While I know you are there
in reality,
its just reality has a way
of colouring things grey.
As we live out our existence
in the rush of tomorrows expectations
and today’s claims,

on our time.

But the light
still seeks me out,
rays of silver,
tracing patterns on the floor;
and if I take a moment
and turn and really open my eyes,
I see you, seeing me. 


Living Light.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
June 2016



Cocooned

Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand


Looks deceive, dead seed pods
and limbs bereft of leaves.
Grey leaden sky,
and chilling winter breeze.

We hunker down,
layered like the earth beneath.
Wondering what still lives,
what might still breathe.

But looks, they deceive.
For under the pile of cast-off broken leaves,
as quiet as the tomb,
the earth holds its breath.


And waits.  Just as we awake,
breathe and stretch towards the light,
so the earth waits,
still, and expectant of life.

Yes looks deceive,
for underneath, stirring and lengthening,
are seeds, growing to bursting;
awaiting the turning seasons.

We too are mistaken,
to believe nothing is happening;
brittle hearts covered,
in last year’s debris and bracken.

Wondering how renewal and restoration,
can appear a possibility,
when all is sodden?
But lo behold, life is coming.

Like sun on snow,
our hearts begin thawing.
Like light on the hills,
Spring ascends the horizon.

Not one moment too soon, nor too late,
in arriving.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
June 2016

The Nightwatchman



Piha Beach, Auckland, New Zealand

I will wait, I will wait up with you.
I will wait until
the soil is dry,
of the tears that have fallen,
until the sun crests the hill
and the new day is dawning.

I will sit with you in the garden.
If you are awake, I will be too.
I will not slumber while there is
hunger in your soul,
I will stay while 
the night lingers still.

I will keep you company
when the loneliness bears you far
from the presence of others
who cannot follow.
Who cannot know the things
that keep you up at night.

Those things which you feel alone.


But for me.  But for me, who comprehends.
Who understands.
What it is to sit and to grieve,
without the comforts of a friend.
To feel the shadows bearing down
on a cold and barren ground.

Yes, I am the one who has been there before,
the dark night of the soul.
And because of this,
you know that only love for you
led me to the garden’s floor.
And its love for you that moves me still.

So I will wait, I will wait up with you now.
I will wait until
the fear subsides, and
the light that seeks you out,
starts dawning in your heart.
Yes I will wait with you in the dark and lonely night.

And you will rise with me in the light. 

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
April 2016

Seal Me

Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand


Seal me in your heart.
Seal me in your heart oh
lover of my soul. 

Prise me open to you,
and to you alone,
because your love for me
is to the death,
and your jealousy,
strong as fire.

My only answer
to such a love
is to fall upon my knees.
Captivated by a love
that will not let me go,
pledged fast to me.

And all that you ask,
in return,
is that you are my one desire.
Above all, who may draw me
from your feet,
above all the world’s allure.

Oh seal me fast,
tied to your side,
for I’m inclined to wander.
Though I know there’s no-one
who can touch the spirit,
beyond heart and soul.

But for you.
But for you, my God.
My love, my desire, my all.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
May 2016



Whole


There is something I’ve been trying to grasp.
A truth you would have me understand.
From these lessons, with no explanation,
I seek reasons for their being.
And think, there must be a plan,
or else, chaos.

And that is not how you work,
although we know its from inside out.
And we know you make us fools,
despite our thinking we are right,
and you use us then, as broken tools,
meant to confound the wise.


Yes, I’m learning that in your upside-down world,
weak does not mean defective.
Nor does cracked mean I’m far from whole,
but simply that I haven’t shattered;
and I’m actually stronger in my walk with you,
than I truly knew.

Yes, I read today that doubt is
not faith’s opposite, as I thought,
rather it’s an element of our journey to belief,
and precedes the faith that follows it.
If that is true, then I can trust my fears to you,
though all may appear, as lost.

And love, love is made stronger still,
for the strain on its roots. 
And the desert, beyond all appearances,
can bloom as a rose, and springs burst forth
where it appeared there were no water, before.
And dry bones can be revived.

Yes, this is the something I have been trying to grasp.
In the chapel, upon the floor,
and in bed, with the width of miles, between opposing views,
I found you whisper it to me, loud and clear.
It’s just I couldn’t at first believe what you said,
that we could be ‘broken and still whole’.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
March 2016



Piha Beach, Waitakere, Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, 27 May 2016

A Candle in the Darkness


I see the candle glow,
see it light the dark.
Flickers of light in the shadows,
I watch it dance.

I see how it glows and dims,
yet fails to go out.
Charged with energy at its core
it keeps itself alight.

I carry its flame,
to use to light another.
Before long the shadows become scarcer,
and the light in the room is doubled.

I sit in the warmth of their glow,
thinking how it didn’t take much,
to keep the darkness at bay.
And so it is with the power of love.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
May 2016








Tuesday, 8 March 2016

His Light


It is a way forward,
this light, however dim,
and even if I can see my way
only one step at a time,
I trust in the guide
who sees fit to shine
His light only where He leads.

And though I pray
for so much more
than what I can see
by His light right now;
I must trust
what He yet hides from me,
as much as what He reveals.

Because He promises.
He promises, that though I doubt
I can yet believe;
can trust in a future
still dimly perceived,
through the misty veil
of hopes and dreams.

I can depend on the fruition
of His promises,
and plans, though they may differ
from all I’ve yet imagined.
They are designed to fit our frames
and not to chaff and hurt
as something ill-planned.

Yes, it’s a way forward,
this light, however dim.
And what matters more,
is not what’s held in store,
but the truth, that He accompanies
His children on their journeying,

and we’re to forsake our crowns, for His.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
March 2016

“…And the light of heaven will shine upon the road ahead of you.”
Job 22:28  
Matai Bay, Northland, New Zealand


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Self-Compassion

Should we not give ourselves,
that which we would not fail
to feel for another?
Compassion. 
Understanding.
Willingness to suffer,
alongside.

So sit with your sorrowing self.
Hold your own shaking hand.
Feel the strength that you
can impart, from one palm
to the other.
Lift yourself,
strong again.

We were all born
sensitive, and vulnerable.
Though we may profess
self-assurance,
we still need the gift of
of a non-judgemental self,
to serve as our sturdy backbone.

So let yourself be honest.
Sit in the midst of pain.
Listen as you might to a friend
to what your heart
is not saying;
but might, if it had the courage,
to follow its unravelling.

You are Strong.
Though born in weakness,
and dependence,
your will to survive
whatever you were thrown,
was ingrained.
You are still the same.

Though we may feel alone,
in our deepest selves,
we need not be there unassisted;
and without the grace:
which self-compassion,
in its hope and love,
will always give us.

So trust yourself.
Encourage the foot which
stumbles behind.
Your sensitive heart in
its softness, and strength,
is the re-builder,
of all that is broken.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
February 2016



Karikari Peninsula, Northland, New Zealand


Friday, 5 February 2016

Mosaics


We are mosaics, you and I.
Each part designed.
Each piece patterned and coloured,
to blend in to the pieces beside.

We are mosaics, you and I.
All our strengths and flaws,
our light and our shade,
intricately designed.

To make a beautiful, perfect whole.

No we are not meant to hide,
those parts of which we’re shy.
Or which we cannot perceive,
could serve any purpose at all.

For we cannot see the image of ourselves,
which others see revealed.
Yet God has made of us a storybook,
for those around us to read.

Our true purpose, to be real.

Yes, we are mosaics, you and I,
designed to hang in the light.
When all the colours and the patterns merge,
the picture meant is evident.

Mosaics, you and I.
Our beauty not easily defined, by this world.
As each person see in us something different,
for which God has given them eyes.


Our gift, simply to be ourselves,
and reflect the artist’s design.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
January 2016

Okura River, Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Come


Come home to yourself.
Home is sand under your feet.
And sun glinting silver on the sea.
Home is the waves and the birds.
Warmth on your skin.
The solitude that brings you home,
to your soul.
Forgo the crowd, which leaves you lonely.
And come away for a while.

Come back to yourself.
Survey the view.
And you’ll remember,
that you’ve never been away.
Just been wearing something ill-fitting,
waiting for the day you can disrobe.
And run barefoot.
Dishevelled, wind in your hair,
but free.

Come take a walk.
To the hill where the sky is large.
See the evening spread like a curtain across the day.
And feel yourself small, but wide.
If you still yourself you will hear,
your heart beat along with the earth’s.
And you will know yourself a part of the whole.
No separation at all.
A particle of life.

Which can seem lonely, unless you recall that,
your footprints leave a mark on the sand.
You make a track where you choose to walk.
Every action has a reaction.
No, you are not swallowed up
by the majesty of this breath-taking earth.
You share its beauty,
because of your living, breathing
part in it.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
January 2016
Matai Bay, Karikari Peninsula, Northland




Thursday, 31 December 2015

A New Year


The new year comes to us,
ready yet or not.
While we may prefer to burrow deep
into the old.

The new year comes,
with untold stories to unfold.
And dreams that might bear fruit,
if we’re bold.

To open the door
to infinite possibility.
To recall
what a blank canvas can reveal.

What a pen, that meets an empty page,
can unveil.
What a life fully assured of its future,
can rightly claim.

Gold.
Like the sun rising, the new year comes.
Reminding us,
that life renews itself, like all things.

The old is gone,
until there is no ground upon which to hide.
And we burrow out like cicadas into the light.

And sing with newly opened eyes.


Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
1 January 2016


Friday, 18 December 2015

Loved


Loved I am.
By a man.
Who knows me.
From inside out,
not outside in.
Who understands.

Loved.
And never alone.
Though I may believe I am.
Until in the stillness
I recall, my heart’s
held in his hands.

I could not be alone,
if I tried.
If I had wanted to live
independently of Him;
He would draw me yet
to respond to Him

With a lover’s relentless
pursuit.
Loved and cherished
beyond measure.
Held
above all comparison.

And what could I do to be unworthy,
of such love?
Nothing.
Safety, security.
In the knowledge of
His tender presence within.

Yes loved, I am.
By a man.
Who knows me.
From inside out,
not outside in.
Who fills me as others cannot.

And whose every touch
is kind.



Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
December 2015


"God's touch in our lives is kind ... Romans 2:4 says that it's God's KINDNESS — not his power or justice — that leads us to repentance. ... And because of this kindness, we want to be closer to him." — Amy Nappa


East Coast Bays, Auckland, New Zealand (Rangitoto Island in distance)




Monday, 30 November 2015

As with Love


Time

moves on, while we wish
we could hold it still.
Expand it to retrieve each precious morsel.

But nothing still holds its worth.
Its value in the passing,
and the measuring of its gift.

Held in freeze frame,
it would only stagnate and shrink.
A still pool reflecting little light.

Its lack of breadth,
closing in on itself,
until its eventual demise.

So instead… 


We let it pass.

Yet, if we look carefully
beyond our apparent loss,
we may see we’re richer

for the moments invested.
The memories enlarging us,
to contain more to take with us.

Yes time moves on,
and we wish, how we wish,
we could halt it.

But time like love
has one true common denominator.
It endures beyond us.


And as with love,
which we only keep by offering up;
so with time, we draw treasure from what we relinquish.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
November 2015

Bethells Beach, Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Wounded


I believe, it is

the wounded things that are
the most beautiful.

And that we break open to the light,
because nothing is meant to remain inside.

Sorrow is but a well of understanding.
Chaos but a path to new revelation.
Pain a pearl that shows us where it hurts,

so that the light may trace
the ache to its source.


I believe, it is

that the weak receive
the strength they truly need.

As dependence brings us
to a full and deep surrender.

Shame is but a robe we must discard.
Guilt, another’s pain breaking our hearts.
Remorse, a path to redeem our tortured selves.

And as weakness girds our prayers with heavenly power,
the light reveals the darkness as a fraud.


And so I believe it is,
when love breaks in.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
November 2015

Bethells Beach, Auckland, New Zealand






Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Together

How would it be if we all hung out our washing together
on the line?
What if we were brave enough to show the faded sheets
with the holes at the end;
the socks that still need darning,
the trousers with frayed hems.

What if we chose right now, to no longer pretend;
to the world, the neighbours, our friends.
If we could shout out, “I’m not good enough,
I’m hardly even close.
Its all pretense, and God only knows -
the truth?”

What if we exchanged our truest selves,
like linen table coverings hanging in the sun.
Plain and laid bare,
with a spot here and there;
that we might normally cover,
with the table runner.

What if we chose not to disguise the flaws,
but let them hang out in the sun.
Whipping in the breeze, free and light.
No longer burdensome,
but at ease in the peace,
of lessened expectations.

What if we were kind? 
Not just to others, but to ourselves?
What if we turned that smile inwards;
and the grace that we have learned to impart,
to other’s failings,
we generously gave ourselves.

What if we were to say, “I’m not good. I’m far from.
But I am trying, as hard as anyone, and that’s enough”.
For saying that out loud, we might just find,
has a magic to absolve us
from the shame,
of all the things we keep inside.

Like washing in the light,
of the sun.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
October 2015


"Most of us need to be reminded that we are good, that we are lovable, that we belong.  If we knew just how powerfully our thoughts, words, and actions affected the hearts of those around us, we'd reach out and join hands again and again."  Tara Brach, 'True Refuge'


Bucklands Beach, Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Back

Go back.
Not to stay there.
But to find, what you left behind.
What remained undone, and follows now at your heels,
waiting your return.
What goodbyes were not said, or griefs unexpressed;
on those back steps, or the long ago, hospital bed.
What was left?

What has you now,
going round in circles?
Looking, longing, looking, longing,
for you know not what.
And what bandage have you applied,
to distance yourself from past regret?
What mask do you hold so tight, in the fear it will slip?
What wounds, with a knock, tend to split?

Go back.
The words that were never said.
The hopes dashed, and expectations unmet.
Be brave enough to acknowledge the needs,
that still remain.
From what you couldn’t help;
or could have helped maybe,
but believe yourself
to have failed.

Write.
Write away the pain.
Find a friend and speak of the ache.
Speak until the words finally dissipate.
Speak to those who faces are long gone.
For their presence lingers, till you do;
in every pattern you repeat,
and stronghold which has you bound.

I’m going back.
Not to stay there.
But to re-track my journey up to now.
Until its clear where it broke,
and cracked.
And where I made the replacement;
thinking I had mended
the ache of loss.


Oh how wrong I was.
I’m coming back.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry

September 2015



"....turn back and live"
Ezekiel 18:32
Whangamata, Coromandel, New Zealand

Monday, 31 August 2015

The Silver Lining


There’s a silver lining
waiting to be seen,
by the eye that can perceive

purpose; and if not purpose, meaning.
And if not meaning,
then at least,

a gift.


That might look just
a little different,
to what we were wanting.

Hard to recognise,
and to become accustomed;
but always, always

what we need.


It’s just we never know
what we need,
until it comes to us,

in forms we didn’t expect.
But if we look, if we look
we find what it was that we needed

by what we get.


Perhaps silver linings are
treasure, greater than the
fulfilment of our small intents.

Their value lies in their
sneaking up, and
catching us unawares.

Leading us to reassess,
the true purpose here.


Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
August 2015

Upper Harbour, Whenuapai, Auckland, New Zealand

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Fooling Ourselves

We fool ourselves.
Believe ourselves to be attached fast
to the leaf.
But shaking in the wind,
as blossoms on the branch;
buffeted enough,
we find ourselves,
airborne.

We fool ourselves.
That it won’t be our turn.
Comforting others,
measuring out
our careful wisdom.
We forget there will be a day,
we will need,
our own medicine.

But we all have our days,
in the sun,
when we blossom, and bloom.
While the days in the wind,
we resist and turn from;
though they come
unrelenting,
to everyone.

So I fool myself.
Believe myself secure,
and steadfast.
Living tree, roots deep in the ground.
And I am: deeply rooted,
and aware of my source.
Yet the wind, with a life of its own, 
still abounds.

 But what if I said ‘come’?
Come wind, what may.
Lift my blossoms, torn off my limbs,
give them breath, and uplift.
Show them the view
from up high.
Show them there’s more ahead,
than what I can see, right now.

And that my security,
my security lies not,
in holding on, till my petals are damp,
and torn.
But in letting go,
in finding freedom in the uncertainty,
trusting in the life source
of all things.
 
Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
August 2015



‘In this life you must find something to live for,
or when the darkness comes crawling you’ll go back to where you were before.
Because this life is as fragile as a dream
and nothing is ever really as it seems.’
Lily Kershaw, ‘As it Seems’




Monday, 3 August 2015

Poetry is

Poetry is

Flying without wings
Uplift without a breath of wind
Dancing on the air
While still firmly on our feet.

Yes Poetry is

The gift to put to music,
the images that come.
Weaving words to give them life
and movement of their own.

Oh Poetry is

Insight and observation.
A longing to crystallise,
into permanence,
rhyme and reason for it all.

Except Poetry is

The ability to see things afresh,
to understand the nuances
and on the shifting carpet
dance.

So Poetry is 

Conflict at the core.
As joys and sorrows surge
we rise and we fall.
At the mercy of time’s passage,

while in the current standing still.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
August 2015



Taupo, New Zealand

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Joy is the Jewel

Joy is ours now.

After the rain has passed,

joy is the jewel

holding fast to the leaf,

moist as new born life,

shining in the light.


Joy is here now.

Knocking at your door,

joy is the friend's

embrace, claiming your right

to smile in return,

as you're reminded of your worth.


Joy is yours now.

Spread across the sky,

joy is the rainbow

that could not have formed,

but for the interplay

of light and dark, from passing storms.


Joy is right now.

Not forsaken, but found,

joy is the reminder

that we are never thirsty

for long, as surely as the earth

circles the sun, we drink from joy again.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry

June 2015


We choose love by taking small steps of love every time there is an opportunity. A smile, a handshake, a word of encouragement, an embrace, a kind greeting, a gesture of support, a moment of attention, a helping hand... these are little steps toward love. Each step is like a candle burning in the night. It does not take the darkness away, but it guides us through the darkness. When we look back after many small steps of love, we will discover that we have made a long and beautiful journey.
Henri Nouwen

Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, New Zealand