Author Archives: backfromtheborderlands

About backfromtheborderlands

These writing pieces and a few photos are from my experiences and messages I have gathered from living in the borderlands.

Counting

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

(This was a prayer/thought I had Saturday morning before we heard the results of our recent presidential election.)

Are you counting?

Like the votes are being counted 

One by one, day after day?

Are you counting

My every thought

Every move

Every deed

Weighing on scales?

No, not counting

Loving

Pouring it out

Day after day

The love that covers

Every mistake

Wayward thought

Angry word

Unkind action

Hateful look

The self-pity

Self focus

The pride

All of it

Again and again

Until it is covered

Until I learn mercy

And do the same

© 2020 Julie Clark

Categories: Autumn Poems, Faith, God, growth, Hope, Love, Poetry, Prayer | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Take Beauty Personally Today

A friend of mine asked me, yesterday, if I had a word for these anxious times, this election day. Here is what came to me first:

In this time of uncertainty, anxiety, and stress I would suggest spending some time in nature. It might be taking a walk in the neighborhood, a hike in the woods or on a trail or it might be looking out your window or sitting on your balcony or back porch. I have a phrase I have used in my poetry a couple of different times. It is “take beauty personally”. Slow down, take some deep breaths and pay attention. What is calling you to notice. It may be a flower, a tree, a bird song, the sound of water from the sea or a fountain. Whatever it is, take it to heart, a message from God, the earth, or the universe that you are beloved. Find a way to let go of what is troubling you and receive the peace and love that you need. 

Categories: beauty, Birds, Faith, Seasons, Trees | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Arrested by Beauty

Arrested by Beauty

Stopped in my tracks to notice

My senses alive 

To see, to listen, to smell, to touch, to taste

These gifts all around

I am taking beauty personally today

As my beloved and I slowly walk this town

The bald eagle shows off his mighty wing span

The chickadees flitting from one tree to another

With their happy chirps

The autumn leaves in full display calling out:

“Look at me, look at me!”

I brush my fingers through the fragrant lavender

I breathe in the fresh sea air and let the sound

Of waves wash over me

Later the taste of fish tacos caps off our walk

This walking, this paying attention

Calms me, refreshes my spirit, 

Brings me home to my body

Today I am alive, happy and grateful

Categories: Autumn Poems, beauty, Birds, Life, Photography, Poetry, Seasons, Trees | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Lament for the Earth

I wrote this 2 years ago when smoke engulfed the Pacific Northwest from fires burning. This year the fires are worse and so is the smoke. I am one of those with underlying conditions. I am not well. It is supposed to rain and help clear the air. I think of those who have lost lives, homes, businesses in these fires this year. This on top of the Covid 19 pandemic which has taken so many lives around the world. Pray this prayer of lament with me and let us work together for change, starting with our hearts.

Backfromtheborderlands's Blog

forest fire smoke burning Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

God we ask for your mercy and help.

We have filled the waters of the earth with poison and pollution.

We have harmed people, animals, fish and plants with this water.

We have continued to fill the waters with chemicals, plastics and garbage even when we know this is harmful.

God have mercy on us and forgive us.

Help us to care for these precious waters that sustain us.

We have poisoned and polluted the land.

We have destroyed forests and fields.

Our foods are no longer rich in nutrients.

We continue to harm people, animals and plants with our poisons and pollution.

God have mercy on us and forgive us.

Help us to care for the land that sustains us.

We have poisoned and polluted the air.

We continue to burn fossil  fuels that are heating our atmosphere.

We are harming people, animals and…

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Categories: Uncategorized | 6 Comments

A Week on Vashon Island

After breakfast

The fog coming across the water

The ferry sounds its horn

The seals sun on the little dock

Set out for them

You could forget where you are

As the sound of waves distract you

And the surf laps against the shore

You could forget that you

Have to go home tomorrow

Back to those routines

Instead of these

And the gull cries

Calling you back to now

“Don’t worry we will be here

When you return”

And the fog keeps rolling

And blurs the seals

On their little rocking dock

I visited the Mukai Farm and Garden remembering and honoring the Japanese community that lived and farmed strawberries here before WWII. They were taken away during the war to internment camps. As I strolled the gardens there was a labyrinth with lanterns hung and intermittent Haiku streaming from pages strung with clothes pins as well. I was inspired to write these poems below.

I.

Immigrants settle

Growing fields of strawberries

Taken and interned

II.

War has many faces

Death and life roll through the land

Tears flow unending

III.

When will we return?

Children speak our unspoken words

Can hearts hope again?

IV.

Some return, rebuild

Life twists and turns with the sun

Trauma stays within

We took several hikes, this one runs along Shingle Mill Creek to Fern Cove.

They clear-cut cedar

Giants turned to roof shingles

The forest still grieves

Categories: beauty, Birds, children, grief and death, Hope, Life, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Raven

Photo by Tom Swinnen on Pexels.com

Flew to the tip of the garage

Standing there now

In front of us

Outside our window

Your message from the One who loves:

I am here

Standing guard

Leading you

In this work

In this way

Pay attention

Step by step

Look for me

You will find me

When you search

With all your heart

I am for you

I am renewing the earth

And it’s peoples

Don’t be afraid

I am with you

I see you

Even when you

Cannot see me

Look for me

Pay attention

Categories: Birds, Faith, God, Hope, Love, Poetry, Prayer | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Who is Waiting for Who

(I came to faith in the 1970’s with the Jesus People, we were sure Jesus was coming back – soon!)

I moan

I groan

I lament

Waiting for you to come

Hoping for you to intervene

To silence evil

To stop oppression

To hear the cry of the poor and needy

When will you 

Remove the evil rulers

When will you come in the clouds

Set things right 

Set up your throne

I long for that day

I long to see your face

In the silence

I hear your invitation

Your call 

To join your work

To speak for the voiceless

To speak and live truth

To feed the hungry

To listen to the oppressed

To push back

Evil, oppression, racism, greed, violence

In my prayers, in my words, in my actions

I realize

I am not the only one waiting

You are waiting for us

© 2020 Julie Clark

Categories: borderlands, Faith, God, Hope, lament, Life, Poetry, Prayer | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Even in a Pandemic

Even in a pandemic

You can be kind

You can listen

You can learn

You can watch as the sun sets

Changing the colors of the sky

The light changing in the tree tops

Beauty can still take your breath away

Even in a pandemic

You can remember

You can give thanks

You can listen to the bird song

And wonder at the many voices

You can pray

You can vote

You can change

© Julie Clark 2020

Categories: beauty, Birds, Faith, growth, Poetry, Prayer, Trees | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bird Lessons

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Robins

Everywhere

On the wet grass

On the roof tops

In the air

Plenty of worms

For all

In this rich soil

On this fertile hill

No scarcity mentality

Just take what you need

For you and your family

Leave the rest

For the other birds

Residents and guest

Passing through

No need for hoarding

Or commodifying

These tasty treats

Oh that we would

Study the birds

And the fields 

And the trees

Like our ancestors

Like Jesus

Learn a new way

An ancient way

Leading to 

The path of life

The eagles on Sunday

Circling the waters

Taking turns

Diving for the fish

Over and over

Repeating the pattern

Again and again

The message is clear

Perseverance

Don’t give up.

© 2020 Julie Clark

Categories: Birds, Faith, Hope, Life, Paths, Poetry, Trees | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Breathe

(This poem written in this intersection of time where people are dying from Covid 19 and dying from police brutality. They can’t breathe.)

Breathe deep

When we can

Because we can.

Remember where our breath comes from

Give thanks.

Remember those

Who cannot breathe.

Remember those

Whose breath has been taken.

Take action

When we can

Because we can.

Categories: Faith, grief and death, lament, Poetry, Prayer | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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