Having Decided To Stay

The official website of Bryana Joy Johnson

Category: Poetry

EDMUND VOTES YES [after Prince Caspian]

Edmund-Aslan
She said it in three words, “Look, look, look!
The mane and the golden fur!
Over the gorge on the mountainside—”
The others were not so sure.

We were so footsore and so worn,
chasing our muddled maps.
And maybe she had been right, but maybe
she had been wrong, perhaps.

Twice on the nays I have staked my claim;
the stories were much too rich.
But the wardrobe opened upon the wood
and the queen was a wicked witch.

So if all of my days have narrowed to this,
a way that I cannot guess,
and you see the lion upon the road,
“Yes, little sister, yes!”

(Bryana Johnson)

In Confidence

GileadInConfidence
It’s that time again. Summer is closing off and all my favorite things are up around the bend. Like rain and days under the white veils of clouds. Like early sunsets and the ground damp and sloshy and smoke on the frosty air and little blinking lights and choral music.

There is one thing that gives radiance to everything,” wrote Chesterton. “It is the idea of something around the corner.” Well, I have been thinking: we who are coming home to the home we have never been to before, what a lot we have got ahead of us to be happy about.

Come away, come away. We’re going up around the bend.

Yesterday I had three poems published in the Fall 2013 Issue of Grey Sparrow Journal. One of them is about waiting, and the manner of our waiting. I thought I’d share it here with all of you. If you’d like, you can click on through to the others as well. I’d love that.

Grain cars of a Fresno grain train roll into the sun.

IN CONFIDENCE

“What is real about us all is that each of us is waiting.”
(–W.H. Auden, A Christmas Oratorio)

for the clean sun the clean rain
the big wave and the grey-eyed hurricane
for the children to come home
we have put supper on
it will not be long now

for red over the great hills
the big fish with the gold scales and thirsty gills
for the blue river to arrive
out of the high mountains
it will not be long

for the white star, the white horse
and whatever is at the end of course
for the little lacy flowers to open
for the wet butterfly-tongues
not long now

for the trumpets of the trains
the big sky smoky-white with aeroplanes
we will jump high laughing
waving our small hands so fast
not long

for whatever is coming
with big slow footsteps and soft humming
to get here wearing just
whatever it has on hand
will be perfect

we who have been hanging, hanging
on the noises in the darkness
will not hang back we will
run forward with our arms wide
calling welcome welcome

The Times Are Nightfall

Dover Beach
Well, the dark is coming on. It has been for some time. But these days the sinking of the sun seems accelerated, and many who have not been noticing are noticing at last. We are living in the twilight of many good things, and it seems shall soon be plunged into the deep night.

SyriaWoman

We see it in the unfree world, where the crest of rage has come down over the countries and desolation goes racking up the corpse count. Where all fences and fortresses are torn down, and the unspeakable has become the undeniable. In the vile cruelty all sides are performing on each other, we see that the times are nightfall indeed.

SyriaChild
And oh, Dover Beach got some things right, for

we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Syria rebels
We see it in the once-free world, where the liberty to love righteousness is slowly sinking to the status of a thing of the past. Where a great web of lies has entangled all the peoples and a trail of deceits has broken all trusts. Where when a man gets up before a body of legislators and speaks truth, he finds himself standing all by himself.

Marriage

Oh, these are the times that try men’s souls. Their light grows less. And a man may judge as he has ever judged. But what is a man to do?

What is a man to do when all his striving and resistance is like so much dust on the wind, and availeth nothing? What is a man to do when the world must, must change, but won’t? What is a man to do when he can’t change the world?

Congress

Hopkins has a few good words on this, the wintertime of the world:

THE TIMES ARE NIGHTFALL
(by Gerard Manley Hopkins)
The times are nightfall, look, their light grows less;
The times are winter, watch, a world undone:
They waste, they wither worse; they as they run
Or bring more or more blazon man’s distress.
And I not help. Nor word now of success:
All is from wreck, here, there, to rescue one—
Work which to see scarce so much as begun
Makes welcome death, does dear forgetfulness.

Or what is else? There is your world within.
There rid the dragons, root out there the sin.
Your will is law in that small commonweal.

Dragon Aslan

When a man can’t change the world, he should change. For this is the highest adventure of all.

Confession

HDTS Confession Poem
[Poetry excerpted from Having Decided To Stay. Do you have a copy yet? Maybe today's the day to hop on over to Amazon and pick up a paperback copy to take with you on your summer travels, or a kindle copy to retreat to this very weekend. I'd be honored by your precious time.]

The Hunting of the Dragon

Hunting of the Dragon
THE HUNTING OF THE DRAGON
(by G.K. Chesterton)

When we went hunting the Dragon
In the days when we were young,
We tossed the bright world over our shoulder
As bugle and baldrick slung;
Never was world so wild and fair
As what went by on the wind,
Never such fields of paradise
As the fields we left behind:
For this is the best of a rest for men
That men should rise and ride
Making a flying fairyland
Of market and country-side,
Wings on the cottage, wings on the wood,
Wings upon pot and pan,
For the hunting of the Dragon
That is the life of a man.

For men grow weary of fairyland
When the Dragon is a dream,
And tire of the talking bird in the tree,
The singing fish in the stream;
And the wandering stars grow stale, grow stale,
And the wonder is stiff with scorn;
For this is the honour of fairyland
And the following of the horn;

Beauty on beauty called us back
When we could rise and ride,
And a woman looked out of every window
As wonderful as a bride:
And the tavern-sign as a tabard blazed,
And the children cheered and ran,
For the love of the hate of the Dragon
That is the pride of a man.

The sages called him a shadow
And the light went out of the sun:
And the wise men told us that all was well
And all was weary and one:
And then, and then, in the quiet garden,
With never a weed to kill,
We knew that his shining tail had shone
In the white road over the hill:
We knew that the clouds were flakes of flame,
We knew that the sunset fire
Was red with the blood of the Dragon
Whose death is the world’s desire.

For the horn was blown in the heart of the night
That men should rise and ride,
Keeping the tryst of a terrible jest
Never for long untried;
Drinking a dreadful blood for wine,
Never in cup or can,
The death of a deathless Dragon,
That is the life of a man.

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