Hand Made {a #poem}

I bend to be formed,

not torn or broken

but tempered by heat,

a fire so hot the white

is all You see of me.

I said change and grow

and I’m bent so low

this shape of me is

melting brass forged

by tools so strong

I fear the breaking.


But I’m bound to bend,

be shaped, sheared sound,

let this shine of me

play gleaming glory,

become the beautiful

breath of sudden

notes quickened by

Spirit, living tune played

through me, a golden

song borne on the

honeyed breeze of dawn.



#whyisitcalled a hashtag?

and not a number sign
as in “#3”?
(or n-o period 3?)

For that matter,
why is it a “pound sign”?
(as in “Please enter your password,
followed by the pound sign?”
(my son did not weigh
7#’s 3 oz.
it was lbs., thank you.)

You’re calling it a hashtag
for tweeters who
twitter (or tweet?
yes, tweet……..
but that’s a bird)

Maybe it’s a hashtag as in
corned beefed hash–
in front of the tag?
as in, “tag, you’re it?”
as in….oh, I give up.

just tell me
why is it called a hashtag?

True Wood {a #poem}

Pears thunk and plop on

barren, yellow grass

alone, uncarried.

The tree bore fruit

but there is no one

to eat thereof.

(is it still a tree?)

Upraised branches,

so much verdant waterspray

towards the sky,

still and soft against

the blue–

but no one to see.

(is it still a tree?)

Oaken limbs, worn with carrying children

to and fro, pumping, playing

jumping, but no one now

hears the joy in the swing.

(is it still a tree?)

Carpenter fashions these

woodly beams, rough-hewn


carried for miles

to the top of a hill-

everyone sees:

It was a tree.


Worship-an Inventory

Solomon Episcopal Retreat Center Louisiana   December 2009. Used with permission.


“The best kind of poem is an inventory.”

                         G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1908


Reception without reservation

Cross Words

Lamb. Perfect. Hung.
Alone. Naked. For me.
Abandoned. Blamed. Spit on.
Mocked. Forsaken. For me.
Loving. Spotless. Alone.
For love.
Blood poured out. For me.
Broken. Crying.
Praying. Dying.
A garden beginning,
A garden His ending.
On a hill he hung
for me.

J.L. Collins 2012

Cocooning-{a #poem}

                              A shell of protection, this choice I’ve made
To hide away indefinitely until
This fragile, silken wall peels
Away revealing new life.
The barrier is temporary and thin—
Easily broken when the time is right.
But now I must collect myself
Be still awhile
Take pains with my words, listen more,
Defy the urgency of unnecessary things.
Spinning this private insulation 
Preserves me heart and soul
In these jostling, jarring times.
Whispered prayers for new life
to come as I emerge from this case
of gauzy gray.
All that remains
when death and destruction
are burned away and
new life comes on quiet, fragile wings.                             
I will fly, I will land, see the world       
in a new way.

I will remember.

In September of 2001 my daughter and I celebrated her graduation from culinary school with a trip to New York City to meet Ruth Reichl, then Editor of Gourmet Magazine and author of 3 of our favorite books on cooking. We’d spent 5 glorious days in and around Brooklyn and on September 10th in the evening, met my nephew for drinks at the Windows on the World restaurant in Manhattan.  A tremendous summer thunderstorm came through that night, lightning strikes, rain in buckets, we were soaked but dried out and took the subway home (I wrote about the kindness of the people we met that night here.
The next morning was the day of our appointment.  I remember a voicemail,  ‘See you at 11 on the 11th’ , from Ruth’s assistant. 

It was a crystal clear, blue sky day. And then the earth moved, the sky filled with ashes and paper glitter and we were forever changed.

When we returned home to Washington, I was in shock for about 6 weeks, although I didn’t know it at the time.
I couldn’t talk on the phone and cook dinner at the same time.
I had to be still whenever possible.
Simultaneous input verbally and visually was overwhelming.
I walked through the days wrapped in cotton and as I was able, gingerly wrapped words around that September Day.