Phillip Neal Tippin lives with his wife and four children on the banks of the Sand Creek in Newton, Kansas, an old railroad town on the Chisholm Trail. It is a prairie place, bounded by wheat fields and flint hills. Along with pursuing his vocation as a dentist, he writes and reads among growing things. Tending to culture at the human scale occupies what margin remains.
The following poems are excerpted from the upcoming collection Ordinary Time, to be published by Darkly Bright Press.
Authority of Mountains
The authority of mountains
Might be established,
Height with might
A correlated stone’s growth
Crushing thrones under weight,
Weigh wanting the rough places
Smooth the pine needle paths
Leading up the bolder slopes past
A vast vineyard, trellis splayed, as
Bent bones hold the Vine to slake
The thirst of a mounting multitude
Who gather, plow, plant, and pasture by
The wine-pressed mountain side, for,
Authority will lift again His Head on high
Radiant in the descending ascent of right,
Light of such countenance, Col de Lumiere,
Whose Crown in burning brilliance,
Comes dazzling white to fill the sky,
And we will speak of it to one another,
This mountain, and I will speak of it to you
And you to me, saying “Let’s climb together,”
For the One who speaks as one substance
Has granted to the mountains their form
By this His Peak, their only plumb and summit.
November’s leave’n tide blows
In billows from the north
Eddying about the corner gate
Settling as drakes in tidal pin oak pools
While other wooded remnants scurry
With chimney smoke, past a gourded stoop
And, tumbling away down the street, retreat.
Don’t send out to search.
You will find no one
To bury among the dead.
One must be led and then,
Only by Jacob’s Ladder,
Will you go up to find
The guides conversing
With the Promise.
With the decidedly untransfigured,
A babbler on the mount,
Invited to listen
Tabernacle with Emmanuel
Impossible with men yet
Cephas, Ciaphus, Balaam
Request, prophesy, bless.
The Temple is
Spilling His Glory
Filling eyes with good things,
The whelming flood—
Precious cloud cover.