We Should Talk More About The Country

We walk roads that seem endless but we know they’ll be tapering off like a candle with a thread all out of wax. And if you’re on a trail of tears, the finish line might seem like a release. But if this little jaunt has been a party, the fact that it gives way to long strings of funerals sometimes makes everything seem like a pretty expensive waste. I wish we would talk more about the country we’re coming home to – in friend groups speculating about the future and in worship and at work and with the scores of somebodies on the street.

I tried to express this some months ago in a little poem. This week, that poem won a quite special prize over Utmost Christian Writers, and so I thought I would share it with all of you.

Have a glad week, all you born-abroad ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven!


The summer had besieged us like armies, like slow wildfire, like cruelty
and when the high sea broke open and bled white water it was high time.
We did not see it like that: with eyes greedy for justice and gaping.
We were growing older, expected less and less, and celebrated everything:
the crinkled white leaves in the wet hearts of beans, bellicose mosquitoes,
gnats like stardust in the fire-wind, charred asparagus needles,
thin tea, and the yellow teeth under the tongues of purple snapdragons.
We were old enough to be thoroughly happy about the pond hosting
black-winged whistler ducks with beaks like bursts of flame, the garden
making a home for rugged white parsnips and the green pebbles of peas;
to relish donuts like spun sugar, trees shedding water like tears,
nightbirds in the moonful sky, and the steady drip of rain through our dreams.

After a time, even drought-break and jubilation begin to taste of sadness.
When we stand in the pool of our contentment, wearing each other’s presence
like a coat of many smiles, we will never stand here again, never with the
water hurtling off of the shingles, and the ants chewing our naked toes,
never with the baby tangling his pink fingers in our hair and our mouths
glad with songs, and our hearts full like hosed cells of celery.

We should talk more of the country we are coming home to, and less
of the land we are living in like unhomed swallows on the waves of the sky,
like beached sailboats straining at the bar, their wings clapping the salty air.
Talk of the houses that are waiting behind yellow curtains to be filled
with laughing and the lilting piano, and puddled crushed citrus spiking the rooms.
Swaying in our rocking-chairs and wrapped in our respective twilights,
we should not speak of our histories as though we stood before the banquet
of delights and were too easy on our dinnerware. We should not speak
of what has been and will never be again. We should talk about what has
never been, though we have been waiting for it all our lives. Talk of the gold
city that shall break on our sight like rain on brittle grass, when we shall go
up from the house of slavery and swing over the threshold of the promised land.

12 thoughts on “We Should Talk More About The Country

  1. Hi, Bryanajoy,

    I just stumbled across your mom’s blog while looking for historical folk music, and hence was led to you and your sisters’ sites as well. You all seem very much like authors after my own heart! I am a great fan of historical folk music, classic literature, Loreena McKennitt, LotR, etc. etc.! I really love this poem — it expresses many of my own thoughts on yearning for heaven.

    I help co-edit a magazine aimed mostly at homeschoolers and homeschool graduates called “The Fellowship of The King” (yes, a Tolkien reference!): http://www.thefellowshipoftheking.wordpress.com

    If you would be interested, we would be honored if you would allow us to publish your above poem, “We Should Talk More About the Country”, as our special guest author. You can respond here, or feel free to email me: campionsbrag@aol.com

    God bless,
    Rosaria Marie

    1. Hi Rosa,

      I apologize profusely for the delay in getting back with you! I just returned from a three-week backpacking trip in Europe and I had sent you an email the night before, but when I got home, I found out it bounced. :/

      If you’re still wondering about featuring the poem, please feel free! I would just ask that you provide a link to http://www.bryanajohnson.com and one to the listing on Utmost Christian Writers (http://www.utmostchristianwriters.com/gallery/gallery517.php)

      Thanks so much and blessings to you and yours!

      All the best,

      Bryana Johnson

  2. Bryanajoy – I am blown away by the beauty of this poem. I love to talk about the country and your evocation is just perfect! Please may I reblog? Congrats on the prize – well deserved 🙂

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