By Michael Stalcup
“Culture is not a territory to be won or lost, but… a garden to be cultivated.”
The hugs we give our kids, the prayers we pray;
the ways we serve our parents, spouses, friends;
the sins forgiven, wealth we give away;
the strangers whom we welcome, ways we bend;
the paintings, poems, stories, songs we play;
the time spent listening, the words unsaid--
the mundane faithful acts of each new day,
though sown unseen, produce a garden bed.
You said this world would hate us, wage a war
against your love—and yet you send us forth
as farmers against fortresses: to tend
this fallen garden that you seek to mend.
We know not how your kingdom comes—but sow
in hope that roots and leaves and fruit will grow.
Michael Stalcup is a Thai American missionary living in Bangkok, Thailand. His poems have been published in Commonweal Magazine, Ekstasis Magazine, First Things, Presence, Sojourners Magazine, and elsewhere. He co-teaches Spirit & Scribe, a workshop helping writers to integrate spiritual formation and writing craft. You can find more of his work at michaelstalcup.com.
'Cultivating' first appeared in Cultivating. It has been republished here with the author's permission.
Michael's other work on Foreshadow:
Sometimes Mercy (Poetry, September 2022)
Covenant Prayer (Poetry, September 2022)
Lines Last (Poetry, September 2022)
Related work on Foreshadow:
Planting Forgiveness (Poetry, March 2021)
Support us by sharing this post or buying us a book.