How to Remember?

Today is the day I commemorate the first time I contacted my wife (by tradition, I email her a poem last thing at night on the first of May, she reads it on the second; this reflects the fact that I first emailed her on the first, but she discovered the message in her inbox the day after). Here is this year’s effort:

How to Remember?

On this notable occasion
Of our first communication,
I search for inspiration
As for how to celebrate.

‘Twas with hope and consternation
That I sat at my workstation
To compose a salutation
To a possible soul mate.

Like my in-person mumbling,
I penned a note quite fumbling,
And to compound my bumbling,
It contained a broken link.

Your message sent back to me
(whose detailed words elude me)
Said openly and truly
That Alex’s advice stinks.

No angel choir euphoric
Nor wild ride meteoric
Told us this choice historic
Would transform both our lives.

Instead a growing friendship
Unveiling a deep kinship
That grew into a courtship
That to this day still thrives.

More poems telling the the story of the first contact, courtship and subsequent marriage of my wife and I can be found in my first poetry collection, Selected Verse – Faith and Family, the ebook of which is now permanently reduced to 99 cents (or territory equivalent) on amazon

Selected Verse - Faith and Family

One Child

“One child is enough for you, the rest you will discard.
It’s in our nation’s interest; this choice is not so hard.”
A parent’s pure delight is turned into a source of woe,
As they decide which child to keep and which they should let go.

Millions are torn to pieces while still in the womb,
Their tiny bodies adding to another smoky plume.
Many more are left to freeze upon a winter’s day,
Abandoned in the street as if they all can make their way.

Shafts of light come filtered through the roadside’s fragrant trees,
The smells of woks and pans at work, all carried by the breeze,
Piano music interrupted by a teacher’s scold,
None of this brings comfort to a little girl that’s cold.

She’d love someone to scold her for an errant finger placed,
Since then they’d think their time’s investment in her not a waste.
She pines for Grandma’s village hut, with its floor of earth,
Nought but worms to play with, but folk grateful for her birth.

She makes it all the way back ‘home’, but then is left once more,
Each time the police bring her back to that unloving door.
Until at last that father is imprisoned for his crimes,
The girl sent to an orphanage to see more pleasant times.

Those places, though, are more like prisons; she soon runs away,
But there is no long-term escape, the world is bleak and grey.
All these troubles teach her that all parents are a fraud,
That Mother State and Party are her only loving lord.

The chairman of a boarding school then contradicts this thought,
He takes her and her cellmates in and treats them as he ought,
As children, pupils, precious lives of worth and purity;
He sacrifices plenty to restore their dignity.

(For this and other kindnesses, he’s later thrown in jail,
Performing better than the state, that’s far beyond the pale!)
The school’s house mother lavishes her love on all of them,
Soothing all the fears and pain from which her anger stemmed.

As years go by, a loving family seems a distant dream,
No-one will adopt a girl who’s now into her teens;
She must now start to think of when she’ll be a full adult,
On her own, responsible for each choice and result;

Then comes the news of a kind couple from a distant land,
Who long to take her in and hold her with their loving hands.
They’ve sons and want a daughter; they’ve come thousands of miles
To love someone this state discards, to treasure her sweet smile.

Inside her, softly, safe despair gives way to deadly hope
That tempts her from her lonely ledge to grasp this rescue rope.
Her broken self will have to die to birth a new creation,
As she is flown to her new life in that wild, distant nation.

In that odd land, one child is precious—missed when they are gone;
For those strange folk, one child is valued—each and every one.

Fourteen Years a Hero

It is my wedding anniversary today, and this is this year’s poem (my wife actually forgot it was our anniversary until I told her the poem was ready last night, so there are some bonus brownie points for me 🙂 )

Fourteen Years a Hero

Fourteen years a hero, for putting up with me,
And all we do that nearly drives you to insanity:
Noises, fights, and interruptions, not to mention screams;
Sometimes even so bad they’re invading your sweet dreams.

I’d like to think that other times can make your burdens light,
With kindnesses and cuddles and sometimes a such sweet sight
Of learning a new lesson, training a new skill;
Overcoming barriers through pure determined will.

Could I be part of making each day easier for you?
Sharing all your burdens, helping you get through,
Offering my shoulder for those times you need to cry
Or standing by your side as we enjoy a star-filled sky.

Here’s to forty more years of our love and unity,
Through joy and sorrow, times of plenty and of scarcity,
You are the greatest friend I’ve had, we make such a good team,
Together we reflect a glimpse of heaven’s holy gleam.

A Prime Wife

For my wife’s birthday:

A Prime Wife
 
How fitting that a prime number of years you are today;
For a prime wife and mother you have been in every way.
Sister, too, and daughter, all these many roles you bless;
Without you here all of our lives would be worth so much less.
 
My words fall short of all I owe you for your kindness shown
Your love and grace to see my flaws, yet take me as your own,
Far more than that, to give yourself to me and me alone,
My horizons broadened, and how my heart has grown.
 
Let us shower you today with joys both earned and given
In some small part to repay all the good for which you’ve striven
May baby grins and giggles add to this enchanted day
As we try to create a time when things will go your way.
 
So revel in your well-earned rest and heartfelt wishes, too;
Soak in the love that reflects all that you have shown so true.
We’re blessed to all have known you, and more than that it seems
You’re so much more and better than the woman of my dreams.

When Seventy Has Called Upon

I am currently in England at my parents’ house, where on Friday we flew in to surprise my mum for her 70th birthday, with further surprises including a massive party in a beautiful walled garden with more than 60 guests. I gave my mum a copy of my poetry collection, together with some Czech crystal imitation flowers that my boys bought for her. My dad privately joked to me that he should have hired me to write a poem for the main event. These sorts of jokes are dangerous, because it got me thinking and I didn’t sleep well, with lines occurring to me in between the bouts of sleep. For the first time in my life, I gave in to the muse completely and got up in the middle of the night, sneaking into the lounge to scribble down those lines and add to them, then filled out the rest and polished it in the morning.

This is the result, which I recited as the finale of the event, after at least twenty people had stood up to talk about the wonderful ways in which my mum had helped them and been there for them in their hour of need. It went down very well, lots of people asked for a copy of the poem and a number told me they were going to buy a copy of Selected Verse: Friends and Family later. I hope you all like it just as much.

When Seventy Has Called Upon

When seventy has called upon us to commemorate,
Lie in wait with piled-high plate, surprise and celebrate
A life that’s given so much more than it can ever know;
So many wounds she’s helped to heal, so many lives to grow.

When seventy has called upon our minds to be revised,
We see so many of life’s treasures to be grasped and prized;
So many moments of pure fun, so many lessons learned,
And many talks and punishments that we so sorely earned.

When seventy has called upon our bones to be denied,
Will we still have such energy when we get in our stride?
So many projects worked on, gardens dug and sown,
And so much bounty harvested when all those plants have grown.

When seventy has called upon our eyes to be admired,
We see so much to emulate, so much to be desired;
So many lonely stomachs filled and broken hearts made whole
Through simple acts of kindness from this ever-loving soul.

When seventy has called upon our souls to be inspired,
How will our eyes be opened, our imaginations fired?
We’ll see the needs around us that we ourselves can meet,
Sadness we can turn to joy when broken souls we treat.

When heaven’s glee has called upon our souls to be revived,
Will we have won so many over to the angel’s side?
Will our wakes abound with those so full of gratitude
For a life so generous with such great attitude?
Will the Good Shepherd welcome us and shout aloud, “Well done!”
As heartily as he will do for my amazing mum?

Risk

Due to some family troubles (both youngest children being sick and not sleeping well at night) I managed to forget about the anniversary of first contacting my wife, so here is this year’s belated poem:

Risk

What chances will a young man take when love seems on the line?
Write to a complete stranger, take on a risky climb,
Share all his deepest secrets with a girl he’s got to know,
And hope she won’t run screaming from his inner horror show.

Swear utter lifelong faithfulness, til death they both do part;
Before God, friends and family, declare with all his heart,
That nothing can now come between their souls now bound as one,
‘Til all life’s tasks have been achieved and heaven’s wreath is won.’

Share all his faults and failings, all he has and hopes to be,
And all the fruit that grows on their new-planted family tree
Work to be a better man, nurture her growth too,
And always work towards all that is healthy, pure, and true.

Selected Verse – Faith and Family ebook Now on Sale for only 99 cents!

Selectedverse-ffcoverv17I am pleased to announce that my first poetry collection, consisting of 52 poems from the Zwyckyverse blog, is now available as a kindle ebook for the special introductory price of only 99 cents (depending on your territory) until next Saturday, the 4th of April:

http://www.amazon.com/Selected-Verse-Family-Ben-Zwycky-ebook/dp/B00VAS75S6/?tag=theologyweb-20

UK territory

German Territory

A paperback version is also in the works, if you prefer something more tangible.

The amazon ‘look inside’ feature is not available for this book, so you’ll just have to take my word for it, but at that low price, what have you got to lose?

A Year

A year she has sparkled,

A year she has grown,

A year she has learned so much

And through her beauty shown.

 

A princess among princes,

A doe among the bucks,

A precious jewel in our crown,

With this important crux:

 

That she and all her brothers

Are loved as gifts from God,

Encouraged to fulfil the call

With more than just a nod;

 

To live full lives of service

To honour and to bless

The lives and world around them,

Even under stress.

 

Each day we will protect her

And guide her as she learns;

Making new discoveries,

Finding new concerns,

 

Safe in the sure knowledge

That she is dearly loved;

The latest of the living gifts

Sent us from above.

What is this mysterious sweet temptation?

What is this mysterious sweet temptation?

Table manners are very important in this family

Table manners are very important in this family

How I Came to be a Married Man – the Quiz!

Earlier this week a friend of mine noticed a minor note in my author bio and thought that how I met my wife must be a ‘cute story’. Now you, my dear readers, have the chance to decide for yourself what sort of story it is, perhaps even entertain yourselves in the process and most of all gaze in wonder at my rudimentary webpage building skills!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Love Story Quiz!

(Before clicking the link below, please update your browser to the latest version, or it’ll either show you all the answers before you start, or never show you any of them at all. I know for a fact it works fine in Google Chrome, since that updates itself automatically.)

To the Quiz!