finding the motherlode

– mining for a vein of truth in the stuff that matters –

Tag: poetry

the name of this rose

Rose 1


Call me Fullness


after the last petal got crushed

these wilted hands

poured forth oil

into the night

against birds of prey

close by


nipping at my toes

while I was pleading

smoke arose:

“…I make whole the broken soul.”

Rose 2



perplexity’s anthology

a coda in a symphony

the exile’s proclivity

in faith abiding


shaped by the will of the Father

cupped by the hands of Another




bowed low

Rose 4



does not skimp

on strength

made perfect in weakness

where rationale takes a seat

behind honor

“…here’s a towel for your feet…”

— the kind of love that looks after things.

 (Great is the stature of Abel’s portion, it does not measure; I tend to compare)

Patience too is an offering.

How else does a thorny crown

become a headdress

of silken tassels

and linen velvet?

Cain’s temptation gives way

to joy and gladness

at the table of washing

away the mudstains

where I confess

in deference to the rest

these, my welcome guests

— holiness, truth, justice,

and let it be said,

 not my own righteousness —

if such hope be offensive

this high praise scandalous

Apropos is the name of this rose

Apropos is the name of this rose.


©2014 Elizabeth DeBarros 

keeping time

Anthony, Corolla 2013



There you go

stopping to stare

shovel in one hand

birds in the air

dreaming of nut trees   

“— maybe the tomatoes will be even redder this year —”

feeling full,  

knowing crops do better from tending.


And the boys,

used to be everything was a race.

Now, in tandem —

hardy maples, taking shape 

while you listen to the rhythm

of the lapping waves,

keeping time for the rest of us.

Is it me or do you look younger, though twice the age of when we first met?

Maybe it’s your smile

so easy, free

like that day on the altar

when our eyes

espied a glimpse 

of what began as the braiding of a sturdy cord.

Three strands:

love, our vows, and the face of God.

A marvel.

How those tiny bits of metal embedded

and where knots had once been 

instead have become 

a strand of smoothed pearls and colored stones

  nothing left between us 

but gold refined  

  in this silver cup of time. 


© 2014 Elizabeth DeBarros


This poem I wrote for Anthony, my beloved husband of 25 years. I recited it to him before a small crowd of witnesses this past Saturday at an intimate ceremony where we renewed our marriage vows.

(An excerpt from the vows we exchanged)

 It has only become more evident, after these 25 exquisite years, that you are God’s chosen man for me, my Adam, the one I’ve been called to love and live with, to bear fruit for God, that we might glorify Him.

Today, it is my wholehearted desire to affirm the vows I first made to you on April 8, 1989, and to fulfill them all the more from this day on. As I stand here now before you and these witnesses, I am ever mindful of what took place in the Garden, and with a far deeper appreciation and keener understanding of this momentary gift, this mystery, this glorious picture of Christ and the Church, I, by God’s grace, promise to love you, honor you, help you, submit to you, and serve you all the rest my days, so help me God.

I love you, Anthony.

no diamonds of dull worth


Gather up your sorrows

put them in a cup,

pour them on the altar

watch the fire lick them up.


Give to God what is God’s,

to Caesar, the rest –

in Him find solace

your portion will be blessed.


Fret not for tomorrow;

today has enough trouble of its own.

Should God send more sorrow,

 O, diamond, know this:  

 He cuts a brilliant stone.



©2014 Elizabeth DeBarros


these, our hands



I rush to the water’s edge

without fear of falling in 

eternity has consumed me —

 Is this what love is? 

These, our hands —

still, I didn’t recognize them as ours.

The lines seemed untraceable 

to an earlier time

when the riverbed was full of stones 

and of all that lay ahead.



one on top of the other —


but not beaten,

sanctified by scars

we could not do without.

Testament to what’s been wrought: 

a generation’s worth of work,

for better or worse.


These, our hands —

once full of prayers

now answered

trace the lines

where no moth consumes

nor rust corrupts 

my treasure, my heart — 

 this is love.



©2014 Elizabeth DeBarros

This poem was first presented to my husband, Anthony, on April 8, 2014, in honor and celebration of our having lived twenty-five years together as man and wife. A milestone we share with you for your encouragement and for the glory of God.

Someone once said it takes twenty years to get to know someone. I say it takes twenty-five. And that goes for the both of us. A few things known to our minds we have come to better understand only through experience, and what are now cherished in our hearts:  

Marriage is a gift, a vestige left over from paradise. It is a crucible, where the refining  fires of God take place. And it is a cup, meant for overflowing. But grapes don’t appear overnight. The vine must first be tended, and watched. The fruit must mature and is then harvested. Time is involved.  And a winepress. So much mess! But the fermented wine is worth it.

Wine must first be mixed, then stored and aged, and finally, poured out to waft strong, imbibed as lovers and friends. And shared among friends. Over and over.

Marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church. 

Soli Deo Gloria.

onto dry land

Fortitude, Acrylic on linen, 24 x 36, Kathryn Abernathy


Acrylic on linen, 24 x 36, Kathryn Abernathy

Exactly when I sank I can’t say • Overnight, this stowaway lay sequestered • nine days silent • sentenced to the bottom of the ocean floor  Squid ink disorients the brain, I could not think • tempest set against me, no way of escape  Gravity led the procession (this imposition became the assignment) with crushing force, until my walls shook • Irony delivered its verdict: “In her absence, cords were cut, men came forth • out of her dilemma a stand was taken: ‘Struck down, but not destroyed.'” 

 What of these aching arms? • Better yet, how heavy is dead weight? • Good questions expose things like roots and debris to the material witness of stale courtroom air • flesh and blood are bound to fail, every breath comes from Him.

Quake, little mountain; roar on, billowing sea. Faith opens doors and my mouth utters this confession:

He is LORD, fear Him.

At last, this, my only offering: in yearning to go home came my remedy: “I have declared peace.”  spit out onto dry land • I’m picking up these bones as fast as I can • learning to walk again coram Deo • informed by this:

To live is Christ, to die is gain.

©2014 Elizabeth DeBarros


Fortitude, Acrylic on linen, 24 x 36, Kathryn Abernathy

For further meditation

Jonah 22 Corinthians 4:9Philippians 1:21

summer bids adieu

lemons and limesCherries and Mangoesmangoes

Mangoes and cherries

lemons, limes

steamy mornings

chill of night

mugs of tea, hot

and iced

I was long in need of refreshment

I was

treading oceans

scaling walls

fixed positions

scrape and thrall —

Making things right

takes time

So, we took the time.

Order comes

as chaos bends

before the Maker

Who descends.

 Watching and waiting — 

Shoot the stars,

 hasten the sun,

collapse the moon:

“Your will be done.”

God didn’t enter our world,

it was rather the other way around.

Beating our wings

 summer bids adieu

a hiccup, 

a laugh,

brief interval,

a curtain or two.

More than order

gone is grief

 Arose in my hands

   (thorns asunder)

rest and peace —



©2013 Elizabeth DeBarros



fields of cotton smiling at me

You want revivin’?

Okay then,

 stop lookin’ so glum.

 You be dug up from the grave,

lifted high on a stick.

Every last one of dem bones

be ‘sessed ‘n’ ‘counted for —

dem ones all snapped and hollow.

You be a sight fer sore eyes,

blackened stiff —

void o’ counsel.

It’s breath ya need, boy, yer fresh outta wind.

Then they’ll carry you into da house,

high up on a stick.


she’ll turn,  

flashin’ her pretty eyes 

lookin’ alive

lurin’ ya into  her arms —

But dat’s only half o’ her, 

ya see.

Last name’s Folly — 

she’ll tear ya ta pieces when yer not lookin’.

Oh, right, you have no eyes.

Blind as a bat —

Wastin’ time, did ya?

Hangin’ upside down,

circlin’ dem murky waters

over ‘n’ over, 

never gettin’ by, let alone far.

Livin’ on bits o’ scrap ‘n’ dirt flies.


What you doin’, boy?

You outta yer mind?

I be prayin’ fer ya, least I can do.

Give me your night,

All your broken glass

from the window you broke,

your feeble attempts at pleasure.

I will give you eyes to see what the wise and learned have yearned to see.

Listen, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

Then you will no longer tolerate sin.

You will find Me

as you walk out the rest of your days

in newness of life.

Hey, did ya hear?

Dat boy’s all bettah, lookin’ smart. 

No maw hollow sound.

Been put back togethuh.

Yeah, no maw dem bones heard rattlin’.

Yeah, we be revivin’.


 ©Elizabeth DeBarros 2013

fields of cotton smiling at me

 In honor of the slave and the freedman. 



all my longings lie open

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme by Dan Routh Photography

Shut the door,

find me a table 

for leaning,

for yearning,

and for gathering herbs —

where love is the main course.


Pour the oil,

bring on the meat,

tiny morsels, finger sweet.

Slake my thirst

sip o’ drink,

long to linger,

sup at Your feet. 


Under the fruit tree

the ginkgo, the pine,

cedar, bulrushes — 

  of purpose divine.

(But what about the times when I went searching for You under the shade tree,

and got pricked and bled instead?)

Sometimes it takes years to understand

 faithful are the wounds of a Friend.


Bitter root 

drop your leaves,

Tree of life

yields its seed.


A longing fulfilled is a landscape in due season.


Though pain is the fall

Eternity heals

the ancient wound.

Scattered ashes

before Your throne

Carry me

to another world

all Your own.

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme by Dan Routh Photography

© 2013 Elizabeth DeBarros





Lace curtain,

French urn,

You’re an

Adirondack chair

with a touch of fresh paint —

You’re ticking stripes,

a tall glass of lemonade,

shades, straw hat, and lipstick.

You’re a slew of window boxes,

  herb garden,

  honest, overflowing, and lush.



changing year to year.

Candle flame in the dark,

 laying up prayers

with your heart on your sleeve,

inviting me into your arms,

laying down your crown

        at His feet.  


© 2012 Elizabeth DeBarros  


Whenever I call my mother, we usually talk either about how she’s feeling, the weather, what she’s eating for dinner or what I’m cooking for ours. I then try to keep her up to date with the rapid pace of growth and production of testosterone going on at our house. She never fails to ask for everyone by name. If she’s up to it, the conversation moves into the past and we’ll land on a memory, chew it to bits, have a laugh or two. I love it when she roars. It strengthens her spirit. And mine. Other times, we’ll briefly touch on a current event, acknowledge the strong hand of God and end up praising Him together.

Today was different.

At one point, I stumbled over my words, then I didn’t have any. I just cried. Hot, sweet tears.

She let me.

And I could hear her thanking God.

cast but a glance

Cast but a glance, not your pearls.

 How do I rend my heart

When I’ve only ever given garments?

—Far lesser things I might have afforded

If ‘twere not for chastening Divine.

Mourning dove,

covered in ash;

thy bruisings go deep.

O, Steady Hand, go before me,

Severe Mercy, perform your alien work!

When Despair set low her bolts and bars

She blinded my eyes,

thrust me asunder.

My spirit flagged, the flesh gave out.

By taking strength from other gods,

—‘twas Thee I had refused.

Now I am caught;


listless from the winds and damp.

These markings — where did they come from?

Look away!

“It’s too hard, I must deserve this.”

But ev’n tears are cleansed of boasting

in Thy Presence.

Canst thou hear Me singing?

Peer through the lock,

Thy vigorous captors are no more.


Heaven’s flames extinguished, Fury’s quenched at last!

Lift up thine eyes; look about—

 ‘It is finished’


—Cerulean skies; the temps are fair.


As My love, so My scars,


and ever shall be


That My dwelling be found in thee.

 © 2011 Elizabeth DeBarros

For further meditation:

 Joel 2:13; Isaiah 38:14; Zephaniah 3:17; Isaiah 60:1; Isaiah 53:10-12; Isaiah 63:4-6

John 19:30; Revelation 1:5; Exodus 34:14; Exodus 15:13; Ezekiel 37:27


This poem was originally written for “Celebrating the Excellencies of His Name,” the collaborative series currently hosted by my dear friend, Becky Pliego, at her website, Daily on My Way to Heaven:

“During this Advent season, we want to invite you to join us in considering and celebrating the excellencies of the names of our Lord. We want to see Him fully…to know Him better, to worship and love Him more. And we will do this by studying His names.”

~We would love for you to come and share in the blessing~