Bright and Beautiful*

When my heart goes still
My eyes go dry
And thought pauses heavenward
Then pray goodbye and kiss me still
And send me to the pyre

I am dust and ashes
Dirty cloud in the wind
Dancing over grain and through trees,
And as the wind calms at dusk
I settle among flowers

When rain pounds the soil
Roots suckle nourishment
I am drawn into a blossom
Lovely at last.

By Theresa Gustafson

July 1998

 *This poem was written by Theresa six years before her most untimely passing, and should be read before my poem, “For Theresa: One Better” (which see).



For Theresa, One Better

For Teresa Gustafson in reply to her little prophetic farewell poem found at the back of her funeral program. That poem, "Bright and Beautiful" moved me deeply-so much so that the following verses flowed from my soul in response.

Oh better bard than I by far

I've read your farewell poem.

Hope you can read mine where you are,

Now that you've flown on home.

You were not wind nor dirty cloud

Nor ash upon some empty shroud

Those just the remnants of the cask

That cloaked your Fire, your mortal mask .

Those only settled on the fields

To darkly guild their flowery yields,

But you, a deathless, shining sprite

Took wing, empowered by Christ's own Might;

You have out-flown death's sullen flood

And sit with Jesus as you should--

An over comer by His Blood.

Now you shine bright as any star,

Brighter than gem or flower by far.

Earth has no fleeting bloom alive

Can match your beauty where you thrive.

For now you ARE. Bright and Beautiful;

Your poet's soul foresaw saw it well,

And thus the title of your poem

Held deeper secrets still to tell.

Oh better bard than I by far,

Your soul was welded to a Star.

Let none believe the accuser's lie

That steals our birthright from on high,

For we are children born of God

Made in His image, not just sod,

And we've been purchased by His Love

And given heritage above.

Lord fill with heaven this our earth,

And turn our sorrows into mirth.



Gene Pinkney
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