Wednesday, January 31, 2018

distracted driving

spending so much
   time on our devices
   for directions to your
      peace   hope
      life        grace, we
drive right past
where you are standing
with them filling
your arms.
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


as i press the remote
to warm up my car
   before we even
   need to step outside,
there are kids
huddled at
      bus stop,
in your mercy . . .   

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, January 29, 2018


some see you
as a widower
   walking your dog
   too many times
         a day to
      avoid boredom,
but you are
looking for those
   dropped as the
   world’s refuse, to
recycle them back
at your house.
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 28, 2018

lunch packer

we won’t find you
at your laptop
   tapping in every
   foolishness we are,
         for you
are in the kitchen,
making sandwiches
for all who hunger for
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, January 27, 2018


give us as
   a light
      to those in shadows;
   a voice
      for all not heard;
   a hope
      to folks living the blues;
   a heart
      in the emptiness of another.
give us . . .

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman


Friday, January 26, 2018


see you a curmudgeon,
yelling at us
to get off your lawn, but
you are the neighbor
   shoveling walks in winter,
   offering spring bouquets,
   dropping off baskets
      of home-grown produce
      in the summer,
   carving pumpkins with
   kids in the fall.
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, January 25, 2018


when no one
picks us for
      their team, leaving
us at the edge of
   life, our hands
   in our hearts,
scuffing our souls
in the dirt, you
open the gate
to the kingdom, calling,
‘come and play,
everyone is welcome
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

hump day

a whisper, a shout,
   you listen;
a dropped cup of grace,
a knocked-over dream,
   you pick up the
lost in our thoughts,
trapped by our fears,
   you throw us a lifeline;
down on our luck
flat on our hope,
   you give us the
   keys to the kingdom.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman





Tuesday, January 23, 2018


we could welcome
   those we are warned
   to steer clear of, but . . .
we could share
   grace with everyone
   who is lonely, but . . .
we could lift up
   folks knocked down
   by life, but . . .
we could be
   your heart
but . . .
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, January 22, 2018


Imaginative God,
when you first
   tasted a snowflake
         on your tongue,
   pulled on your wellies,
         to splash through puddles,
   flew a kite
         in the fields of Eden,
   saw lightning illumine the sky
         and felt thunder rattle windows,
did you know
how much we would
about the weather?

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, January 21, 2018

song 62

we could buy
all the platitudes
   from the politicos;
we could look
for hope in all
   the bargain basements;
we could go
driving down every
   lonely road,
simply fall back
into your embrace, trusting
   you will catch
   us every time.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, January 20, 2018


help us, O God,
   to stop pointing fingers
   at everyone who
         disagrees with us,
and to reach out
   with our hurts
           our hearts,
           our hopes
across anger’s abyss
   to build a bridge
   that we can cross
   hand in hand.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, January 19, 2018

no time

you open the drawer, and
pushing aside all
the gold watches
      we’ve given you
      over the years every
      time we threw you
      a retirement party,
   believing you were no
   longer needed,
you take out
      peace, putting
them in your tool belt,
heading out to serve us
   once again.
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, January 18, 2018


   get up, stretch,
   start the tea,
   cobble together breakfast,
   read the comics, avoid the news,
we all have those
routines that are fixed
            and certain, yet
most days
grace remains an
kindness (well, if someone
  reminds us, we might),

justice whenever
   there’s a major event, so
help us to make these
as much a part
of our daily routine as
   get up, stretch,
   start the tea . . .
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

sacred harp

the heart
   that is broken,
the town square
   where justice is sought,
the baseball diamond
   where kids learn teamwork,
the skating oval
   filled with families,
the circle of friends
   singing carols to neighbors,
the triangle of the snow plow
   clearing the streets –
you use the shape notes
of our lives, Imaginative One,
   to compose your songs
   of grace and hope.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

the day after

we could
put the photos
   back in the album,
store the quotes
   on a thumb drive,
shove the memories
   to the back of the closet,
            or we can
make compassion
   more than a meme,
fight injustice
   on more than a holiday,
see a prophet
   as more than a platitude,
treat a dream
   as more than
   a historic artifact.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, January 15, 2018


the little kids
      who wake up
      every morning hungry,
   while we attend
   another prayer breakfast
      where food will
      be thrown away;
the families
      who must sit in
      urgent care waiting
      for hours,
   while we can see
   our doctor the
   same day we call;
the person who
      lives out of
      a shopping cart,
   while we rush
   to the store to
   get items we don’t
   need (but there is
     2” of snow forecast!);
do they ever
wonder about folks
who talk so much
about dreams, but
   never act?
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman    

Sunday, January 14, 2018


when angry tweets
   flutter around my head,
shameful words
   plug up my ears,
spiteful announcers
   drown out wise whispers,
will i ever
your call to offer
to a time where
they have become so

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, January 13, 2018

snow day

the winter warriors
   plowing and scraping
   roads on 12-hour shifts;
the first responders
   taking risks to reach
   those who were foolish;
the carers
   spending time at
   the group homes
   and the shelters
      rather than with
      their families,
we pray, O Lord.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, January 12, 2018


while a dad
      rummages through seat
      cushions for change
   to use at the laundry,
i grumble
that the washer part
   will take 24 hours
   to arrive;
while a child
      remains on that
      growing list for
   experimental treatments,
i impatiently
look at my watch
   after only 15 minutes
   at the doctor office;
while a mother
huddles in a -5
      wind chill
   at the bus stop,
i lower the temp
of my heated car seat
   from hi to lo;
in your mercy . . .     

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman    


Thursday, January 11, 2018


thursday, and

i can hear
the dripping of
      the rain, the
   tires splashing
   through the lot, and
even the cat
does not want
   to come out
   from under the
   covers, so
drag me out of bed,
hand me a cup of tea,
send me out the door
      to be the
warmth for someone
   who knows what
   real cold is;
light for the child
   afraid of the shadows;
hope for the fellow
   who sleeps on
   despair’s streets.
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

sticks and stones

a time-out in the
   ‘i will not say
   &#%@ again,’
even some
      soap in the mouth,
but why,
   Wordsmith, weren’t
we warned away from the
      three-letter words
      which are so scary:

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 09, 2018


the stomach flip-flopping,
   trying to remember everything
   everyone was telling me,
the worries that i might
mess everything up –
   O Lord, do i remember 
   first days at jobs! so
as i move through
this day, remind me that
for the barista,
     the receptionist,
     the clerk,
     the technician
it just might be
their first day
   and give me
   the grace of

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman          

Monday, January 08, 2018

and the winner is . . .

it’s ‘awards’ season,
      and while the world
   watches what folks
   wear on the red carpet,
you are handing
out coats and blankets
to those shivering in doorways;
      while we keep track
      of our favorites
   to see if they
   win the globeoscaremmy,
you keep an eye
on the rough sleepers;
      while the pundits
      and experts are
   handicapping the
   picks to prove who is,
      like, really smart,
you are holding
the hands of those
    everyone has forgotten.
it’s ‘awards’ season,
   and as usual, you
   are hanging out
   with all the losers,
like you.
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman


Sunday, January 07, 2018


in spring showers, we
turn cartwheels,
   the droplets shimmer
   into rainbows;
on hot summer
   we float lazily
   down the river;
on autumn afternoons,
   we bob for
   apples in the
   no one is watching;
on snow-covered
front yards we
   make snow
in every season,
      you remind us
   of our baptism,
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, January 06, 2018


in the lonely cycle
      of days, may
   we be wise
   enough to
search for those who
have been turned away;
in the grayness
of gently falling
      fears, may
   we be the
   star to point
the way to hope;
in the frenzy
     of gift-returning,
   may we continue
   to offer grace
to the forgotten;
in the shadows
      lingering in
      despair’s alleys,
   may we be
   another road
to follow home.
(c) 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, January 05, 2018


we could continue
to let our blood pressure rise,
   our stomachs churn,
   our voices crack from yelling,
or we could turn off our devices,
fold up our papers,
find your good news
in the group handing out
   winter coats on street corners,
in the students shoveling
   sidewalks and driveways,
in the older couple checking
   on their homebound neighbors,
in the employer paying
   hourly workers to stay home,
in all the people, places,
hearts, and hands overlooked
by the editors and producers.

© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, January 04, 2018

no excuses

the quadruple-layered
   school crossing guard
   huddling against the wind;
the car wash attendants
   transferring winter’s grime
   from our cars to their bodies;
the ice-encrusted firefighter
   trying to catch her breath
   before entering the building;
the school bus starters
   and warmer-uppers out
   before dawn crawls out of bed;
God, protect those
who are already at work
while we rack our brains
for excuses to stay home.
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, January 03, 2018


may hope
   be the button
   to close tight the
   fear-buffeted coats
   of so many;
may justice
   be the button
   pushed by those
   longing to be lifted
      out of oppression;
may grace
   be the button
   taken out of the jar
   on the desk,
   to be shared
   with a stranger;
button, button,
who’s got a
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, January 02, 2018


while we can
slip into a second coat
   on such bitter days,
remind us
of those who must find
   another newspaper
   to be their insulation;
as we press the remote
to self-start our car
   to warm it up,
remind us
of the folks who stand
   on unsheltered corners
   hoping the bus will be early;
when we can make
the ‘wise’ decision to work
   from home and be safe,
remind us
of our neighbors with no choice
   but to find a way to get
   to their low-paying job.
make us more grateful,
dear God, but
please make us more mindful.
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman


Monday, January 01, 2018


my ears are cold
my nose is runny
my feet are cramped
my eyes are dry and gritty
my back is gripped in a vise
my mouth has been nibbling on dust
my soul groans from a graceless night
my heart wants to stay under the covers

so, dear Lord,

give me a new heart
   which shelters those
   shivering in loneliness’ doorways;
give me a new soul
   which shares grace
   in every moment;
give me a new mouth
   which is not afraid
   to speak about hope;
give me a new spine
   which will stand up
   to mean-spirited bullies;
give me new eyes
   to see the gentleness
   in seeming grouches;
give me new feet
   to walk beside those
   on their last pilgrimage;
give me a new nose
   to breathe in the aromas
   of wonder and laughter;
give me new ears
   to hear the cries of the poor
   and the giggles of little children.
© 2018 Thom M. Shuman