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Three Poems by JD DeHart: "Mother Lion", "Tree of Life", and "Will"


Mother Lion

Desert God, Yahweh,

whose paws carved

a nation

whose wings

and winds whirled across

vast plains on incomprehensible


who loved and was


and loved still

roared still

who called, punished,

called, made promises,

sent plagues,

dictated chiseled commandments

whose paw

reaches through pages

and over time

to wrap me into a warm

and protective embrace.

Tree of Life

I remember that old tree

from my youngest days

winding its way up out of the earth

it wasn’t pretty

dripping resin, and a deep

round knot curling

right at its middle

One of my (many) aunts

told me about the Tree of Life

connecting it to a colorful

picture in a children’s book

and I imagined this was it

not even very far from my

childhood home

why, after all, would God

not be my next-door neighbor?

I imagined then

what heaven might be like

starting to think of angels

and celestial beings.


I do not know

the perfect will of God

for my life or yours

I do not have the map

laid out in broad strokes

of clear blue ink

Maybe I will be a writer


or a teacher

or a sailor of some

unknown lake

Maybe I will float

on my back and learn how

to look at the stars

without wincing

But I do know

that the will of the Father

is that we be kind

that we dig our hands

into the soft earth of what

it means to love

I do know that it is the desire

of my Lord

that I support with my words

So maybe that’s not political

or fiery or fervent

Maybe that’s the opposite of agenda

and doesn’t ring the same way

on picketing signs

or burning pamphlets

It’s not the kind of word

you scratch in metal or hurl

like a stone

it won’t draw blood

make money

or battle

it won’t burn the sky

But it’s the one we’ve been

given, traced faintly in sand.

JD DeHart

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. He has two projects available at Origami Poetry.

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