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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

POETRY by Benjamin Dugger

Benjamin Dugger
Benjamin Dugger

By Benjamin Dugger | March 25, 2008

After the Sickle

Furrows forsaken, spent, stripped
Of their fruits, lie naked
In winter storms
Under skies of weathered iron,
Offering bruised bits
Of bleached husk trapped
In a conspiring stubble.

Furrows frozen, exhausted,
Forlorn, emptied of life,
Wait early spring
Labors of man and earth
Which shall once more yield
In sweeping beauty
Our golden harvest-fields.

# # #

Benjamin Dugger says, "William Butler Yeats and Gerard Manley Hopkins are...two writers from whom I have drawn inspiration to write."

Dugger has had poetry published locally and an essay published in the Washington, D.C. area. He has a photo published by the School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh, Scotland and has three photos on permanent exhibit in Scotland.

Born and raised in Elizabethton, Tenn., Dugger graduated from East Tennessee State University and enrolled in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he earned a Master of Divinity degree. He was a Baptist minister for 22 years, during which time he earned a B.A. with Distinction in English and Creative Writing from George Mason University. He has taken post-graduate studies from several institutions including the University of Maryland, Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., and the School of Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He also trained in Syro-Palestinian Archaeology at Tell Gezer, Israel with the American Schools of Oriental Research in Jerusalem.

For the past 20 years, Dugger has been an associate Portfolio Manager with The Burney Investment Advisory firm.

# # #

Calcutta Ministry
(A tribute to Mother Teresa)

by Benjamin Dugger

One wizened woman stoops and feeds
The gaping mouths that host death's smell;
God's love that routs the stench of hell
Indwells her features, words, and deeds.

A blue-fringed sari frames the face
Profanely hollowed through long years,
Full-drawn from grief's uncharted tears,
Engraved by time, imbued with grace.

Her hands, small tools of fleshless skin,
Outstretched to rotting human forms
Abandoned to the closing storms,
Are to their bone and flesh akin.

Her words, gifts of simplicity,
Bespeak God's presence, whispered breath,
To hush the rales of choking death,
To heighten human dignity.

Her deeds our sordid fears disclose-
Of fevered lips, disfigured hands,
Of sunken eyes, distended glands-
Make lighter dying's dark repose.

In form and feature, word and deed
She venerates despair's elect,
Redeems the fruit of world neglect,
Resuscitates the Christian creed.

# # #

The Race

by Benjamin Dugger

Imagine all the mockeries
Of humans spending loveless lives
As phantoms, muted by our drives,
Made heedless of earth's harmonies:

Not placing in ourselves deep trust,
Nor feeling beat the pulse of peace
Whose deathless rhythm grants release,
Nor owning that our frames are dust;

Nor searching for our mother lodes
Which run the fissured years unmined,
Nor dreaming of a love refined
And elevated in its modes;

Not raising up our buried fears
And sharing them with humbled face,
Yet, bowing in unmeasured grace
To sutured eyes and plastered ears;

Nor tasting fruits, whole or in parts,
From toiling in a warless world,
Nor risking cords that bind, unburled,
Our hearts to other grinding hearts;

Not once reflecting holy light
Which greens our spirit's arid waste,
Nor sensing how, with dreadful haste,
Time's deathly shadow seals our night;

But running hard the treadmill lane
Of ordered selfishness, of blame:
A marathon of actors lame,
Our endless pantomimes insane.

# # #

Meet the poets featured in the April issue of A! MAGAZINE FOR THE ARTS and read their poetry by following the links below:

Warren Meredith Harris
David Winship
Henry McCarthy
Lena Cantrell McNicholas
Samuel Miller, M.D.
Poetry Events
Arts All Around: A Day Without Poetry by Barbara-lyn Morris
Arts for Youth Spotlight: ETSU Senior Researches Japanese Poet
Back to the main story by Rita Quillen
Jane Hicks
Felicia Mitchell
Delilah O'Haynes
Neva Bryan
Rees Shearer
Gretchen McCroskey