Category: Poetry

When Moon Goes to Sleep

yawning moon

When Moon Goes to Sleep©
By Mark A. Hutton

I can tell from your yawn,
You are sleepy and tired.
Time for bed.
Time for sweet dreams from Moon’s beams.

What’s that you say?
It’s not bed time yet?
Don’t you know?
Moon can’t sleep until you’re rested?

Moon gets sleepy too.
He’s up shining all night.
That’s how we get sweet dreams,
They travel down Moon’s beams.

Don’t wait any longer.
Climb into that bed.
Lay down your head,
I see Moon’s beams.

But, when morning comes,
And Moon goes to sleep,
Will you tell me what you dreamed?

Were there castles and knights?
Did dragons really fly?
Did the king and queen look like you and me?

When Moon goes to sleep,
Will you tell me what you dreamed?

Were there ships sailing the sea?
Did their sails huff and puff?
Did you save the day and find safe harbor?

When Moon goes to sleep,
Will you tell me what you dreamed?

Did you take a rocket to Saturn?
Did you wear one of the rings?
Or did you walk among the clouds
And simply make it rain?

Sleep now little one.
Let Moon’s beams shine on you,
And bring you sweet dreams.
And when Moon goes to sleep
You can tell me all you dreamed.


The Field is Gone


Coming back home after 25 years is a strange and wonderful experience. We recently moved back to one of the most beautiful places in the country – East Tennessee. The mountains, rivers – oh the landscape – is awe-inspiring. One thing that constantly grabs my attention is how much I took the natural beauty for granted when I grew up here. Don’t misunderstand, I spent as much time as I possibly could out in the woods, fields, rivers and lakes growing up. What I took for granted was that they would always be here.

A few days ago I drove by a corn field that I used to hike through to get to the mountains. It was part of a farm and I got to know the farmer. In fact I spent a lot of time on his porch, hearing stories – mostly about the way the land had been when he was a boy growing up there. The stories were always told the way old men tell stories, with lots of names and details of things like they had been.

After the corn was harvested the stalks would be broken and bent over, hanging brown. They were home to quail and other animals. Sometimes they stirred when I walked through. They have a special place in my memory and that is the only place they exist now.

The other day I drove by that field and it is gone – and then I found this poem. It sums things up I think.

The Field is Gone
By Mark Hutton

The field is gone, buried beneath future
Rubble of convenience and commerce.
Stalks that once drew bird and game
Draw gamers and the budget minded.

It wearies a memory to replace
What is here with what once was.
Natural overcome, replaced with synthetic.
Creation’s groaning is nearly audible.

I have no right to chatter,
It was a borrowed field.
The farmer passed on his debts.
Someone must pay. So the land and memory do.

*poem published on


Longing for Ordinary Days

Of late I have longed to get “back to normal.” It doesn’t matter all that much that my sense of normalcy is far from, well, the norm. The life of a pastor is anything but normal to begin with but when you add a huge transition into the mix everything is up for grabs.

In the last month we moved from Charlottesville, VA to St. Louis, MO. We tried to prepare. We tried to imagine ourselves in a new church, new schools, a new community and city. We made plans and made a budget. Then life set in and, well, like Robert Burns wrote, “the best laid schemes of mice and men go oft awry.” The result has been, as my friend Bob Burns would say, we are living in ambiguity.

We left VA not knowing exactly where we were going to live. That’s right. The five of us, plus Cash – our dog – packed and loaded up and drove 14 hours in a day to St. Louis, MO. We had only a slight notion of where we were going to live. That isn’t something we planned – believe me. Rather, it was something that developed. We planned for a smooth and easy transition. We made plans for a place to lay down each night, a place for meals, a place for pots and pans, and somewhere for dust bunnies to collect. We planned to leave one hearth for another. That wasn’t to be – despite our best-laid schemes.

We knew (know) that Jesus had provided jobs for us in St. Louis but we were unsure of how He was going to provide a place for us to live. Nothing was on paper – nothing was solid – all we had was a one week reservation at a Residence Inn. We didn’t know where we were going to go beyond the first week. We didn’t know if we would find a house to buy or a place to rent. God did.

Since arriving the last week of June we have seen God’s hand at work. He has provided places for us to stay – even the dog. A number of families have opened up their homes to us – inviting our family to stay in their homes, hosting us for dinner, inviting us for a swim. We are grateful for the way that God has provided. He has even opened up a door for us to buy a home (we close- God willing on July 24th – thank you David Klotz!).

The folks in our new community have been God’s source of wonder amid the chaos of a less than smooth transition. It is an experience that only comes from stepping into things the way that God wants us to. Even in the midst of chaos God’s wonder prevails. BUT, do not get the impression that we are just sitting back relaxing in God’s goodness. No. No. Not even close.

If you want to see what life is like for our family you need only flip into the Old Testament stories of Abraham and Moses. God called those men – along with the families and tribes they led – to step into ambiguity. Oh – God provided wonder amid the chaos – but the people grumbled, complained, fought, and chafed in the midst of uncertainty. Yet, God was faithfully putting together His plan, providing for them and establishing hope and salvation through Christ. But the people blew it often – God never did.

That actually captures more of our story over the last few weeks. Yes, we were willing to step into ambiguity – willing to trust Jesus as He led our family. Yes, we’ve been blessed by the ways in which God has used His people to provide for us. No, we haven’t been these super saintly folks who have not been affected by the unknown and the stress of transition. We’ve bickered with each other. We’ve grown weary with waiting and our prayers have had the sound of lament. We’ve lost our cool with our kids and they with each other and us. We have blown it often but God has not.

And yet even in our failures – our very real humanness – we have seen God’s wonder amid the chaos and something else has emerged. It is something I think the people with Abraham and Moses experienced as well. We’ve found ourselves more aware of our deep need and longing for ordinary days of home.

Ordinary days of home are the sort of days that we often complain about– days in which we have to make meals and do laundry, pull weeds or rake leaves, tend to homework and bills. I have found myself daydreaming about planting a garden, washing dishes, cooking, painting walls, and welcoming friends for meals. Sometimes God, for whatever reason, calls us to step out of those ordinary days into ambiguity. If you walk in that long enough while you will experience God’s wonder amid the chaos, you may experience a longing for ordinary days and thankfulness when they return.

There is much that can be said for the ways in which those ordinary tasks are an extension of what it means to give and receive love, to build into the lives of children, to strengthen a marriage, and the joy of hospitality. Granted, in our family ordinary tasks are often the places where we hear and feel the loudest grumbles. However, taken away, the ordinary tasks of home are sought out because they are as much a part of the relational components of home as rest. Kate Harris, Executive Director for The Washington Institute, wrote

By coming to see my ordinary tasks in light of their relational nature and their wonderful, purposeful inefficiency, I come to see what Soren Kierkegaard means when he writes, “The love of repetition is in truth the only happy love.”  What is more, I can begin to think afresh about the simple, mundane, but purposeful work God calls me to pursue for the care of myself and my family day by day.  Indeed, the Incarnation itself shows us how intimately familiar God is with our daily needs, deeming the faithful care of a loving mother and father sufficient to provide all of the necessary, bodily care and nurture for His only son while on earth.

Ambiguity has given our family something that we may not otherwise have ever known: a chance to see God’s wonder amid chaos and an awareness of the significance of ordinary days of home. I think Jesus understands that. In the New Testament (Matthew 8 and Luke 9) Jesus said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” That text brings great comfort because it reminds me of the cost of following Jesus. Following Jesus means stepping into ambiguity, finding our peace in the way God provides, being aware of our constant need for God’s Spirit to help us, and joy in the most ordinary of days of home. It is not easy but it is filled with wonder, hope, and good.



The American in Me –

Recently I’ve found myself reading a lot of poetry. I like poetry – well – I like what I like. Sometimes I read poems and I think – what in the world are they talking about. Not today – today I came across a poem that I totally get and, just as important, I like it. So, seeing as how I like to share things I like – I thought I’d pass this poem on to folks.

It is called The American in Me and it came to me from another blog I get updates from called Curator. I like this poem because it reminds me of folks I love – because I’m related to them or because I have been fortunate to know some really good folks. I also like it because it sort of reminds me of me – or part of me – or at least some part of me that I once knew and I’m not the least bit embarrassed or ashamed of. You can find the poem below – or just click here:

The American In Me by Joshua Cave

The American in me drives a Chevrolet,
spells carborator however he likes
and purposely leaves the grease in his skin.

The American in me is more muscular,
talks loud shit with the boys
and drinks beer because he likes it.

The American in me smells right,
like wood chips, cigarettes and sweat
and his wife likes two out for three.

The American in me votes ardently,
carries the political history of his father
and holds country up to family.

The American in me married his high school sweetheart,
said “I love you” through the tears
and has been saying it every morning ever since.

The American in me goes to the coast on vacation,
always says he’ll retire there
but knows he won’t make it that long.

The American in me is a veteran
of everything if you’re asking him
and yes, he is ready for a fight.

The American in me hits hard,
like the first cold wind of winter
freezing brittle bone to break inside out.

The American in me works on the clock,
hates and loves the overtime
for the effort it takes and the empathy it creates.

The American in me sits at the head of the table,
flanked by loving wife and obedient children
and he loves them when he has time.

The American in me tries to stay healthy,
dilutes his tuna with beer
and wears his gut like a varsity jacket.

The American in me goes by Jon,
spells it without the “H”
and always peers over just to make sure.

The American in me is the American in you,
and the American in you doesn’t recognize the American in me,
nor me in you, nor you in me, nor us in I.