LGBT/queer My poetry

poem: whippoorwill blessing

if i follow the call of the whippoorwill
out from our burrow of blankets and slow breathing

over and into the shirt
shrugged over sleepy shoulders

downstairs to the kettle snoring steam
for the tea steeping in its yawning mug

out, out! past the screen door
anointed in moth-kisses
into a slowly waking world

will a blessing be out there, waiting?

whippoorwill, are you calling me to go
stirring my spirit as I stir this golden tea

as the sun shrugs its golden shoulders
over mountains?

whippoorwill, tell me, tell me how
you’ll bless me!
and you, dove with your mournful morning croon,
you, creek with the laughter bubbling up
from your valley nook below —

tell me how you’ll lavish me in blessings
only lavished upon those
who arise
and go.

here i go.

I wrote this poem on the getaway trip my wife and I took into the mountains of Northeast Georgia for our 2-year anniversary a couple weeks ago. The first evening we spent in our little cabin nestled in the trees, we heard a bird calling that neither of us had heard before – but my wife correctly guessed what it was because the call really did sound like “whip-poor-will.” That next morning, I awoke very early to the sound of that same bird calling. I stayed in bed a little longer, burrowed safe beside the love of my life, and then I rose to follow the call outward.

There truly is a special blessing in the world for those who awake early not to head off to work but to take that first inhale with the dawn…you can believe in the aliveness and interconnectedness of all things in that early morning glow. I felt Divinity all around as I made my way to the creek a little ways away from the cabin.

My poetry

poem: heaven is home to quick green things

i hope Your kin(g)dom’s halls are walled
with tree trunks

with canopies for roofs – in shades of green
never seen before by human eyes

and veritable riots of flowers, fruits,
everywhere i look! – and, when i need
a rest from color after vibrant color,

i hope the leafy canopy gives way  
   to black
          so deep
i almost believe
Your whole infinity
could curl up in its blue-black folds, with room
to spare for all your nursing galaxies.  

i’ve never understood
how they can read Your declaration “Good!
very Good!” – read how

You would not cease from making till You stood
amidst a million billion nebulae
that each great downdraft of Your mighty wings
sent aswirl with dust and heat that coalesced

into stars and planets, split again
into seas and lands, cells, plants, and only then

only then did You rest
as the milky way jingled on Your wrist –

they read of this
and then they paint Your heaven sterile white
as far as eye can see!
unbroken vault of
neutralizing light
devoid of all the variegating shades
and creatures that You made with Your own breath
and eons of delight.

i hope your kin(g)dom’s halls
are loud with birdsong
and prowling with cats, and rippling with fishes

i hope new life-forms bud a thousandfold
instead of shrinking down to human beings
and angels stock-still in one solemn mass;

for unity need not require extinction –

and You,  
    great bounty-bringer,     

look lovelier when draped in gauzy rainbow,
a diadem of ivy laced with stars
and shadows silking over You like feathers –

and humankind alone, even backed by angels
cannot think of enough new ways to praise You…

so let the birds of the air, the slinking things,
the fish of the sea and seeds that split the dirt
join in on the praise of You that words don’t cover

and that rings clearer
through brown boughs than spotless white.

If you use this piece, please credit it to Avery Arden and link this website. I also invite you to email me at to let me know how you’re using it!

Hear Avery read this poem on YouTube.

About this poem: It’s important for us to reimagine the heavens we’ve been taught – for not only is whatever God’s kin(g)dom looks like far beyond anything our finite human minds can imagine, but in particular those endless uniform clouds and multitudes of faceless angels are antithetical to God’s love for diversity and color and life.

I wrote this poem because I’ve received so very many messages from people on my tumblr blog asking me in fear whether their beloved pet will be with them in heaven; or whether they’ll still be able to do the things they enjoy and see the people they love in heaven…and after much thinking and studying and praying I’ve found that the answer is yes! yes, of course! For what God calls Good here on earth (drawing from Genesis 1), God will restore, renew, transform for the coming age – not destroy.