God of the bathrooms

wood 2Bob likes reading mythology, old and new, and even makes up some of his own.  One of the classic old standbys, of course, is the hero in the Odyssey.  Here’s my crib note version based on what’s left of my memory from required reading in high school and watching some old Hollywood interpretation on TV:

Odysseus has been away from the home castle for quite a long stretch; I can’t remember why, but “the rosy fingers of dawn” is mentioned several times.  That, plus the fact that he and his very macho comrades go through all kinds of fantastic adventures with all kinds of out of this world creatures (today, I believe they are referred to as “meta-humans” in the Comicon universe).  Continue reading “God of the bathrooms”

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Superheroes loading the dishwasher

wood 2By now, some of my readers know that my husband’s blog, Pneumythology, (the name of which I came up with, BTW, just sayin’…or I guess you can blame me, whichever), has much to do with equating mythology with everyday life.  As such, he writes and reviews about graphic novels, superhero movies, and so the upcoming Wonder Wonder flick is high on the summer watch list in my house.  I’m sure there will plenty of pyrotechnics and the zinging of bullets and explosions of unrealistic proportions. pow-158867_1280

Then there’s real life.  He really does clean the bathroom and load the dishwasher.  (#he’smineyoucan’thavehim)

However, in the midst of the mundane, we both actually believe in a mythology, not in the sense of make-believe fairy tales, as in Greek and Roman trying-to-make-sense-of-nature stories.  I mean the epic, the there’s-got-to-be-more-than-I-see life, a reality the supersedes my sensate tangibles and my abilities to understand.  And, occasionally, “it” pokes through the fabric of even our ordinary humanity…

Evidently, this happened more than occasionally to Moses.

 “But when you heard the voice from the heart of the darkness, while the mountain was blazing with fire, all your tribal leaders and elders came to me. They said, ‘Look, the LORD our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice from the heart of the fire. Today we have seen that God can speak to us humans, and yet we live! But now, why should we risk death again? If the LORD our God speaks to us again, we will certainly die and be consumed by this awesome fire. Can any living thing hear the voice of the living God from the heart of the fire as we did and yet survive?  Go yourself and listen to what the LORD our God says. Then come and tell us everything he tells you, and we will listen and obey.’

And if you’ve read the rest of the story, we all know how long that lasted. 

Yet, God seemed okay with this plan.  Unfortunately, the people’s historic track record with this kind of communication/obedience pattern fell pretty short.  Second-party information can sometimes be just that—information.  Head knowledge instead of heart knowledge.  “What”, instead of “how” and “why”.  Information bereft of application.  Experience without wisdom.  And all that boils down to legalism or license, both of which are deadly as poison.

Enter the new covenant, with the Holy Spirit, A.K.A., the Paraclete, translated for us as Helper.  And, boy, do we need help, especially with the application part.  At least the Hebrew people, quaking in their sandals at the foot of the mountain, had a glimpse of the power and awesomeness that they were dealing with (and probably more than a few had to clean themselves off when arriving back at their tents.)  We, unfortunately, are generally not graced with that sense of awe, but instead with a smug arrogance of self-sufficiency, even without our Christian context. Got the marching orders, thanks Lord, I’ll take it from here! (Ouch.)

We really don’t know What (Who) we’re dealing with here.  But part of the good news is—we can.

“Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”

And part of the important news is, as a disciple of Jesus—I must. 

Because as Peter Parker’s uncle told the young and upcoming superhero Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Not bad wisdom for a myth.

Deuteronomy 5: 23-27; John 14:21 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Wear your boots and wipe your feet

wood 2I don’t mean this to be any shameless self-promotion for my husband’s blog, but, hey, if that’s one of the side effects, I’ll not refuse it.  Bob has always loved dinosaurs, and all things big and monster-y.  He would get in trouble in school for drawing those big, green lizards instead of paying attention in class, and now as he approaches retirement, he’s allowing his childhood fantasies to turn into adult aspirations.  I’ve even encouraged him to take up pen and ink and start illustrating his own books, and in so doing, I’ve created a monster of my own! (Kidding—“behind every great man there stands…”)

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From “The Staff in the Tree” by Robert L Jones, III, on Pneumythology

So his site, Pneumythology, deals with mythical stories and beasts of incredible imagination (not just his own, but throughout history) as well as eliciting inferences from the superheroes of ancient Rome and Greece and DC and Marvel. 

Now, I hope this is taken the right way, but Continue reading “Wear your boots and wipe your feet”

The Kraken (conclusion)

The final installment of the The Kraken, by Robert L. Jones, III.  To start from the beginning, click HERE!

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From The Kraken, by Robert L. Jones, III and illustrated by James P. Wood

 

XVI. Benediction

With Kraken gone, the fearful folk returned to ply the sea,

And safety made the legend pass, though inadvertently.

A town was founded near the place where Galen’s cottage stood.

Where once a barren coast had been, there grew a neighborhood.

 

So Galen’s fame was scarcely known, but heroes must be paid.

He used his bellows and his forge to work the blacksmith’s trade.

At times, he fashioned stranger things, though most did not know why,

And, with his arm around Celeste, would stare into the sky.

 

Their union prospered in its way for those who cared to see

That Galen and his winsome bride were blessed with progeny

Of fairest skin on stoutest limb and fire behind their eyes.

They raised them well and lovingly and taught them to be wise.

 

They taught them work and taught them play, made sure that they were fed,

And told them stories in the night, then tucked them into bed.

As seasons changed, they watched them grow till they were straight and tall,

By young desire distracted from the saddles on the wall.

 

And, one by one, they saw them leave, when they were fully grown,

To found new homes with spouses fair and children of their own.

There is a way, mad by design, a way that wisdom makes,

To set the young at liberty to make their own mistakes.

 

And, one by one or all at once, the children would return,

The cottage glowing in the night with candle wax to burn.

They laughed and ate. Some went outside to play or walk around,

No longer knowing what they paced had once been sacred ground.

 

Their father told his history repeatedly, and yet,

Through unfamiliarity, descendants will forget.

And so he hammered weaponry and saved it for the days

Another generation would embrace heroic ways.

 

Some undergo the humble change from ridicule to fear

As those once sheltered made aware of danger drawing near,

But some remember righteous thoughts, discovered in their youth,

Of better dreams and simpler ways that turn them to the truth.

 

In times of pride and apathy, depending on the year,

There well might come a moment when a Kraken will appear.

As some are lost or made aware, the cycle starts again

To test the motivations that direct the hearts of men.

 

Still, man and wife would spend their days in faith and blessedness,

Commend themselves to higher things, and frequently confess

That tribulation comes to teach the lessons all must learn

In preparation for the day the griffins will return.

To order The Kraken, by Robert L. Jones, III and illustrated by James P. Wood, click HERE.

The Kraken (#14)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

XIV. A Faithful Flight

Observing her in silence but for sound of griffin breath,

They recognized her dignity, still beautiful in death.

Then Galen looked up pleadingly, cheeks marked by frozen tears.

His mentor looked much younger now, despite his many years.

 

He spoke with sensitivity. “Somehow, your faith is weak.

In giving you some time to grieve, I’ve taken time to speak.

Compared to what should really be, our efforts are but jest.

Now you must meet the One who can perform beyond your best,

 

“One who appears in many forms, a king without a crown.”

As he expounded on the ice, more griffins circled down.

With that, the prophet used his robe to wrap the corpse in white.

“This struggle is not over yet. If you have will to fight,

 

“You’ll take this precious bundle to complete what you’ve begun.

Now get you to the South and East to meet the rising sun.

Take no time to deliberate or question what I say.

So off with you. Be on your flight. Your griffin knows the way.”

 

Through twilight’s gloam, in haste they flew, but Galen was confused.

He held the dead weight to his chest as silently he mused.

He felt no hope or sorrow then or anything between.

This errand seemed to be in vain. What could the prophet mean?

 

Obedience was dearly learned. He would not stray again.

Had he not conquered in a fight no mortal man should win?

The glory of the day before had faded into night.

The goal of present faithfulness was hidden from his sight.

 

They came to rest upon a ridge beneath a graying sky,

And, standing by his escort, he heard flutterings nearby.

Like blades of grass that stand in such profusion on a lawn,

Were countless griffins seen to swarm the hill by light of dawn.

 

As if on cue or high command, by instinct or by choice,

They raised their eagle heads and screamed together with one voice,

And to this cry responding, as if not to be outdone,

A griffin larger than them all flew outward from the sun,

 

Its brightly colored plumage set on wings of awesome span.

As fine a sight as ever was beheld by eyes of man,

The Griffin King flew closer. Galen nearly lost control

But held his ground before the eyes that stared into his soul.

 

Then silently it landed with its wings completely spread

But never moved its gaze from Galen’s face, it must be said.

The monarch screeched with lifted head, its brow in regal frown,

And Galen trembled as he kneeled and laid his burden down.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY…dot…dot…dot!!

The old-fashioned, hand-held, page-turning and fully illustrated version can be ordered at Amazon.com, by Robert L Jones, III and illustrated by James P. Wood.

The Kraken (#13)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

XIII. The Battle

For hours they waited on the ice and watched the Kraken’s hole

As Galen hungered to avenge the beauty that it stole.

His older friend, beholding the frustration on his face,

Took hold of him. “Stay true,” he said. “This is the proper place.”

 

Their griffins also rested there. No fear did they display.

In time of greatest danger, they would simply fly away

And hover well above the fray, then, faithful to their call,

Return to take the heroes home, unbothered by it all.

 

It seemed that nothing happened, then it seemed that nothing would

While Galen tried to reckon what his teacher understood.

He found that he was standing where impatience fears to tread,

Where times of great excitement first by boredom must be fed.

 

As patience is rewarded in some unexpected way,

The ice began to vibrate. Then the ice began to sway

As from the edge, and looking down to see where he should go,

The hunter saw his target’s head appear from down below.

 

The eyes he sought were rising only feet from where he stood.

He felt the handle in his hands and tightly gripped the wood.

In one quick thrust, the implement was driven through the foam.

With discipline, he found his mark and drove the spearhead home.

 

The ice exploded with such force that Galen flew aloft

And landed certain yards from there on something somewhat soft.

The old man underneath him laughed, delighted by it all.

“You did it, boy! Despite my pain, I’m glad to break your fall!”

 

The two men, still disguised in white and trapped upon the flows,

Observed the Kraken thrash and bleed, imperiled by its throes.

The suctioned arms still rose and fell to crash upon the ice.

The section where they bowed and kneeled was nearly capsized twice.

 

One slimy arm caught Galen’s calf, and then he felt it slip,

When upward came more tentacles with something in their grip.

The Kraken died as Galen gasped. He recognized the face,

Lost love, once seen from pirate’s mast, still locked in dead embrace.

 

The two men worked with labored breath, made steamier by toil,

And used their spears with urgency to free her from the coil.

Then reaching into frigid sea, they pulled on her with care

To drag her from her ocean grave and out into the air.

 

And as the heat of battle through our heroes’ veins still burned,

They heard the sound of screech and wing. The griffins had returned.

Though vengeance had been satisfied, the deed was incomplete.

The men beheld the sorry sight now laid before their feet.

To be continued next Thursday…dot…dot…dot!!

By Robert L. Jones, III, at Pneumythology

The Kraken (#12)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

XII. Departure

The morning came when all was done. No task the prophet gave,

Save breakfast, which he barely touched. His countenance was grave.

And Galen’s pulse was quickened then.. His chest began to heave.

He knew just by his master’s look that it was time to leave.

 

“The time has come, “the prophet said and took him by the arm.

“Be carefully attentive lest we come to major harm.

There is more than one aspect to this problem to be solved.

Tomorrow, when the sun is set, this part will be resolved.

 

“Of course,” he paused, “wear proper dress, and don this garment here.

Despite our plan, the Kraken’s speed might best you, and I fear

You’d meet your end within its coils if not for this disguise.

One dressed in white upon the ice stays hidden from its eyes.”

 

Then quickly Galen slipped the robe on top of what he wore

But asked, “However shall we go with no boat on the shore?”

His elder went to fetch the saddles hanging on the wall

And gathered spears. Then, with a rope, he tied and bundled all.

 

He said, “I know your heart is set on striking out by sea,

Yet, nonetheless, we shall proceed as safely as can be.

No vessel born of human hands can breach the Kraken’s lair.

No ship that plies the sea is safe, but these will take us there.”

 

And as he stepped outside the door and pointed overhead,

A flock of griffins landed, calling shrieks to raise the dead.

With eagle’s front and lion’s haunch, and terrible in shape,

Each one arrested Galen’s eyes and held his mouth agape.

 

The wise man held the saddles out in effort to explain.

“Be calm. You should be thankful for the speed that we will gain.

There are no reins. You use your arms to balance as you sit.

The saddles only they allow. Their beaks refuse the bit.”

 

Amid the whir and flutter of appendages, they sailed

In feathered flight. A mighty squad, through azure skies they trailed.

All through the night and into dawn, the expedition flew

To find a world of gray and white had entered into view,

 

A frozen sea encrusted with the ice of broken flows,

Pale, jagged blossoms grown from seeds the deadly tempest sows.

Calm water in an open space was ringed by icy crags,

Bare, lofty, snow blown pinnacles on which the north wind snags.

 

The griffins banked and steered their course to land near water’s edge

And skidded on the hoary frost to stop along a ledge.

“Unpack your spears,” the prophet said, “before it grows too late.”

He added with severity, “It’s here that we must wait.”

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY…dot…dot…dot!!

The Kraken (#11)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

XI.  The Forge

For months, they raised the smithy walls, the roof and furnace made,

And gathered  iron rods and bars of proper strength and grade.

The prophet said, “Convert these, now, to something that will fit

Your chosen purpose and your needs. Your life depends on it.

“The spear must reach beneath the waves to pierce the Kraken’s hide.

The handle must be stout enough, the spearhead sharp and wide.

Now make it long and tempered well before you go to sleep.

You’ll need a shaft that’s straight and strong and arms to drive it deep.

“Tomorrow, we will take the first and put it to the test,

And if all goes accordingly, I’ll have you make the rest.”

The bellows breathed. The furnace roared. The pounding hammer rang

As if beneath its heavy blows the glowing metal sang,

And when the blade with water had been tempered properly,

The finished work, in grim detail, was quite a sight to see.

To punctuate this night of toil, there dawned a morning clear.

Hours later, in the sunlight, Galen proudly showed his spear.

His mentor nodded thoughtfully as one who understands.

He checked the balance of the spear and turned it in his hands.

“What you have made is good,” he said. “It has a killing feel

And, for the pain within you heart, capacity to heal.

“As I have said to you before, you’ll need some more to take.

Observe the pattern carefully, and faithful copies make.”

So Galen labored patiently and set his fury loose

In fashioning sufficient spears and practicing their use.

 

He held each to the anvil as his hammer sang its song,

And as he built this arsenal, his arms grew thick and strong.

When sun was down, the hour befell to rectify his mind

And listen to his teacher to discern what he might find.

Rehearsing lessons written down by help of candlelight,

He lay in bed to contemplate the stillness of the night.

In righteousness, he thought to pay the grudges that he bore,

Smiled at the Kraken’s ignorance of what he had in store.

His days repeated in this way till one night he surmised

There was a solitary fact by which he’d been surprised.

In finding satisfaction with the things his hands had made,

He found he could appreciate his father’s chosen trade.

His labor substituted for a hunter’s vanity,

Each blow was struck to hammer out the past’s insanity.

With sweating brow, he put behind the sting of youthful sin

And filled his heart with humble pride, a blacksmith once again.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY…dot…dot…dot!!

The Kraken (#10)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

X. A Revelation

He next awoke well-blanketed beside a dying fire,

The blackened sky above his head alive with young desire,

And, by and by, the atmosphere grew gray with dawning light

While, out at sea, a bank of clouds obscured the sun from sight.

The scarlet disk rose from the clouds, a Phoenix over hedge,

As Galen’s host stood placidly along the water’s edge.

The prophet watched the wind and waves, beheld the ocean dance,

Looked back at Galen vacantly, and spoke as in a trance.

“In visions or in midnight dreams, I’ve seen it once or twice,

A hiding place, a pool within a fortress made of ice,

A place that finds this cunning creature swimming unaware.

So rather than on open seas, you best had track it there.

“This Kraken troubles northern ports. Its tentacles spread wide,

And many unsuspecting souls are trapped within its tide,

Polluted in its oily wake before they meet their ends

In suctioned arms that scar and drown and awful beak that rends.

“There never was, as I recall, a sailing man or ship

That managed to release itself once in that slimy grip.”

The prophet fell to silent pause, his face in thoughtful frown.

“You see, you’ll need a better plan to take the monster down.

“At first, I think, you’ll wish to know what weapon I bequeath.

A ship is just a dinner bowl attacked from underneath,

A cannon much too slow to move, too heavy, and the ball,

When discharged into murky depths, scarce bothers it at all.

“Since none of newer weaponry can put your mind at rest,

Used properly in well-trained hands, a spear will function best.

You don’t know where to place the point, but presently you’ll see

The Kraken’s weakest spot discerned from its anatomy.

“The giant head is arrow-shaped and armored under skin.

The soft spot in between the eyes will let the spear blade in.

Behavior is predictable. It holds the second key.

This is a clever animal with one weak tendency.

“It uses beak and tentacles to slake its bloody thirst,

But when it moves below the ice, it always swims head first.

While tentacles still trail behind, you first will see its eyes.

At proper station on the flows, you’ll take it by surprise.

“But first we must construct a forge, then once that job is through,

You’ll fashion spears of such design as I shall give to you.

So learn, and make your weaponry. No caution can be spared.

The battle might turn suddenly, and you must be prepared.”

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY…dot…dot…dot!!

The Kraken #9

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE.)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

IX. The Prodigal

In horror, Galen climbed the mast as high as he could go.

It quickly slipped beneath the waves. He fought the undertow.

Then as the deadened ship went down, a living orca came

In black and white with fearsome maw. Somehow it seemed quite tame

 

Though wild and unpredictable, in nature so complete.

As it approached, it lowered first and nudged at Galen’s feet.

By faith, he clambered on its back and held its dorsal fin.

They swam out of the undertow that tried to pull him in.

 

His deadly ride with power coursed across the northern sea

And bore him toward a place of undisclosed identity.

They travelled on for many days and then for some days more

Until the orca shook him off and pushed him to the shore.

 

He recognized the rocky coast, the cottage walls in white,

The person gazing back at him with look of stern delight.

He had not seen that wizened face for seven years, at least.

From obligation to return he had not been released.

 

His misadventures of the past careened within his brain.

He’d seen enough of tragedy to drive some men insane,

And as he kneeled and fought the surf, now sadder, not yet wise,

An undetermined stare betrayed the fire behind his eyes.

 

The prophet eyed him carefully. “I know where you have been,

To take your vengeance on a beast with help of doubtful men.

There was no time to do this right the first time that you tried,

But you have failed. The Kraken lives, and you have nearly died.

 

“Despite your humble circumstance and passion long denied,

I see some future benefit. Now here you will abide

To grow in strength and courage and to train your faculties

To trust in unseen help and learn to calm these troubled seas.

 

“An unclean vessel drew you forth. A better drew you back,

Authentic in its name, supplied to give you what you lack.

I see you have sufficiently been baptized by the sea.

Instead of striking forth alone, you should have come to me.”

 

The wayward man unsteadily arose to gain his feet,

Reluctantly, respectfully, his former friend to greet.

He stood and wavered, scarce could walk, not knowing what to say,

But there was peace between them both in fading light of day.

 

He staggered forward as a child, his elder within reach,

And longed to hear the principles that wiser men might teach.

Collapsing in the prophet’s arms, his vision now in doubt,

He managed but the faintest smile then groaned while passing out.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY!!