Conversatio Divina

Poems by James Reed

Jim Reed

01.  Hurricane, September 10, 2017

My Holy Trinity, the breath of your tender touch is a hurricane

spinning through my heart.

All my high places broken,

all my broken places demolished,

with everything hidden now exposed,

and my voice a banshee keening for ancient, illicit loves.

But nothing is the same after your breath touches me.

Only what you remake stands strong amid the debris of my wayward heart.


I was visiting Ireland when Hurricane Irma was approaching and eventually passing over our home on the west coast of Florida. Thankfully, there was no damage. But I had an image of the hurricane as God’s work in our lives and this poem resulted. I tried to capture what I have experienced, that God’s work in me seems devasting, and yet his touch is as tender as possible. What he devastates is my rebellious and prideful heart. And what he remakes and strengthens through this process is the strong and stable peace of God’s spirit, his breath, in our lives.

02.  Lucy Rose, on her Stillbirth

Lucy Rose

fully a soul,

incomplete in body,

a damaged bud,

gone before you arrived.

How we grieved your heart,

not fully formed,

unable to sustain you.

And in our grief we glimpsed

our own undeveloped hearts

being fully formed by the love

that now eternally sustains you.


As a MK (missionary kid) and TCK (third culture kid), I had learned to move on from relationships easily, with few if any goodbyes. We would pick up when we met again, was my thinking. This strategy protected me from dealing with the pain of loss and inhibited my experience of grief. I lost two parents-in-law and a father, and my grief was subdued. Then my daughter lost a baby girl, Luce Rose, at SOME weeks, due to the Trisomy13 defect, which left her with an incomplete heart. When my wife told me all this, my deep grief was instantaneous; I sobbed uncontrollably. I wrote this poem for Lucy’s funeral. What I found was that the deep experience of grief had opened me up in some way and gave me a deeper compassion for others. I could embrace my grief, as painful as it was, as part of God’s remaking me into the image of His son.

03.  I have been here before

I have been here before,

doing what I do not want to do,

in solidarity with my fallen fathers

believing the same lies that have worked

since Adam ate the forbidden fruit.

In shame I turn my face away from all who know me.

But one face follows mine,

tears streaming, softness and gentleness,

searching for my eyes to meet His.

He knows, better than I, the allure of those lies

that fuel failure and futility,

finally, death.

He has been here before me,

weeping at death,

enduring the shame,

in solidarity with those of us lost in lies,

leading us home through His death,

the death of death,

To life.


Who has not struggled with a besting sin, the thing we vow we will never do again, and we do it again. Who has not struggled with the shame that a besetting sin breeds. But we are not alone. The death of Christ happened because of God the Father’s deep love for us. As the Apostle Paul states, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. This poem is my attempt to describe the experience of Christ’s identification with me a fallen and deeply sinful person who has no hope except through Jesus the Christ and his death and resurrection.

04.  Words

Words come from deep within,

revealing hearts to receptive hearts—

not trinkets held in the hand for a quick look and cast away.

The Word made flesh—

what of his heart do our hearts hear?

Or do we only see the words, parsing the verbs,

tracing the history of the nouns,

ignoring the voice that calls us to obey.

What words did the Word write?

Only those unknown words lost in the sand

after he forgave the woman at his feet

and the condemning crowd dissipated.

But he spoke, still speaks,

in a still, small voice,

but I am still deaf,

one who can read, but not hear.

I am Thomas—

“Show me so I believe.”

Make me Samuel—

“Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”


I find it easy to read the Bible and enjoy the analytic process of understanding the words. But I find it harder to hear my Lord speaking to me through those words. I can come to scripture with a desire to understand, which places me above scripture. Or I can come and submit myself to scripture, waiting to be taught and led. I want to be willing to obey and be led.


More of Jim’s poems can be found in Kindle format in the Amazon Kindle store. Look for Out of my Depth, by James R. Reed. He is working on a second edition with additional poems written after October 2020. All previous purchasers should automatically get the updated version once it is released under the same title.