Don James, Poet
    Jesus Poems
Night Wind

The wind's been blowing all night long
like it always has
like it always will
with the same wounded sound.

Jesus heard the wind
blowing like it's blowing now
with the same wounded sound -
and thought he was hearing God
crying over his world gone wrong.

And Jesus felt sorry for God,
and wanted to help.
Easter Thought

Sweet Jesus, we are overdue
to take you down from that bloody plank -
wash your wounds -
heal your agony -
give you rest from us -
give you respite.

When I read what you said -
heard those salvation words -
on that dawn drenched hill
showered down upon that parched multitude
faces upturned to your sweet cooling truth
socialism's supreme manifesto
your common man's reprieve from ages incubus -
I exulted, I'll vote for you, Jesus!
You'll bring us back -
You'll get us back on track -
there's that look in your eyes
that's like to mesmerize.
First Impressions

I have not seen God since the time
I was a child
unwilling and wild
a surly bear cub of a boy -
and He looked to me then
like my bearded old grandfather -
except that His eyes were less kind
and pierced through me transparent -
saw my trembling terrible sins
why, even in the dark,
like a cat sees a rat
or keener than that.

But if I was a good boy and always behaved
and died for whatever reason
(one reason as good as another)
I would wake up in heaven in half a minute!
and God would meet me and greet me
and pat me on the head
and say what a good boy I'd been -
with His eyes grown soft
and His voice grown gentle -
and He would place in the palm of my hand
a candy sweet as heaven
and not a red hot glowing coal.

The womb is wrenched
and the small life
ready with rage
protests the light.

Anger ignites
the small machine -
provides the spark for the explosion.

Later religion
will inform
why the people
why the thorn.

will try to soothe
the subject with

Then love will touch
the wound of world
and from it grow
a gracious lily.
Beauty Is Truth
told graciously

Is not
a sawed off shot gun
a base ball bat -
or anything
as crude as that.

Beauty does not beat you up.

Is not a boot
attached to a brute.

Is not
John Lennon gasping out

Is Art
as a start
with a flower
for a heart.

And a little flower
shall lead them.
Easter Essay

That had to be in tiny Palestine
the loneliest hill in the world
to be nailed to a plank
and stuck up in the sun
to feed the flies.

At the time a local matter
in a grubby province
at the edge of the Empire.

No doubt the excited locals
jumped up from their uneaten dinners
and rushed over to that skull littered hill
to see what on earth was going on.

One would like to think that the women
were more sympathetic -
for women
ought to understand pain
better than anyone -
though not necessarily -
for witness their behavior
at a wrestling match

(lay that hat pin down, lady,
lay that hat pin down)

But to return to the dynamics of the event:
Was Death side tracked, and a door
opened on a New Dimension?

We do know that something exceptional happened
at the rim of the Roman World,
that an unusual man was sentenced to death
and that he died.

Though not really.

What do you suppose
four days dead
offensive to the nose?

Sisters Mary, Martha,
Believed so.
Grieved so.
He stinketh, said they.

That strong sure voice you'll always hear
dead if not alive:
Lazarus, come forth!
(your own name if you're you)

Tumbled he out of his four day tomb
tangled in his grave clothes,
fresh and surprisingly frisky,
smelling like a brand new day.
A Christmas Story

Don't idealize.
Being born in a barn
is not a fun thing.
The smells were bad.
The air was goose pimpley.
The sun was off looking for tomorrow.
The stars were out
but gave no heat.

There were no clean sheets on the bed.
There was no bed.
The hay the mother lay upon
had a thistle or two
on the way to the thorn.

This was not a pretty way
for a God to get himself born.

This was a barn in Bethlehem.
No sanitized simulation
got up in Hollywood
with haggard Joseph handsome as a movie star
and moaning Mary a glowing starlet.
This pain was real as you could feel.
The mother bled real blood.
The Babe was at risk.
The hygiene was not there
once you were out in the air.


Things went wrong.
The angel acting as midwife
slipped in a lubricious substance
and fell to the floor.
And the angel swore.

There's more. Joseph
pounded on the innkeeper's door
for a jug of hot water and a scrap of cloth at least -
when a chamber pot was emptied on Joe's
head from a scolding second floor.
"The beasts!" uttered that good decent man
hurrying with sudden hope
back to the barn
(he'd heard the Babe's opening statement)


Enough of what is rough and real
if the real
is to be workable.

The thing is this we must not miss:
God is not a snob.
A bar will do nicely
if the Truth is in it.
Don James was a lifelong poet who lived in Manitoba, Canada. His modest goal was to return poetry to the people, where it belongs, where it began.

He passed away at the age of 88 in February, 2015. He was the best kind of friend, and will be remembered by his friends forever. This is another poem snatch he sent to me:
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​my bonfire me
on a modest hill
tossing up sparks
in too much dark

​wink and go out
wink and go out

caught in the updraft
swirl away
specks of ash
​Don James was a Canadian poet, who was also my friend. He lived in Beausejour, Manitoba, which is the subject of my painting to the right. (I am Nancy Doyle, the owner of this website, and I'm a painter. The images on this page are mine.)

Don passed away in February of 2015. I miss him very much.