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Monday, September 29, 2014

More Deeply

Come dusk
A man leans
On a fence rail
And considers the day.

Was the day's work done well?
What could have been done better?
What more needs done?
How much will it cost?
When should it be complete?

As the sun sinks
Into the horizon
A man is shrouded
In the deepening dark.

He thinks more deeply.

How has my body worn?
Is there energy remaining?
Is all I’ve done worth all I’ve given?
Has my life had significance?

In the deepest darkness
A man disturbs his mind
In an effort to probe
More deeply.

Am I loving well?
Have I given my best?
Will I leave something to lighten
The way for those following?

Just before the morning birds sing
A man hears an answer
That is higher than language
And interpreted only in his spirit.

The answer comes as mystery:
More deeply.

Give more deeply.
Hear more deeply.
Work more deeply.
Live more deeply.
Love more deeply.
Rest more deeply.

More deeply.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Vengeance*

Closely listen
You will hear the drums
Death is moving
It this way comes.

The crashing cannon
The rifle fire
It is too much
It is far too dire.

Unloose the warrior
Bridle the horse
Give answer to
The wicked one’s force.

Rain down hell
Let it fall wide
Let not one escape
Let not one abide.

Pursue! Pursue!
Let wicked blood flow.
Sound the trumpet!
Let vengeance roll.

* I wrote earlier of my repulsion with war. It is, in every regard, the very last recourse following the failure of reasonable dialogue. But there can be no dialogue with godless creatures like ISIS or Al Queda. When reason fails, the ambassador of bullets must follow. Just hours earlier another westerner lost his life at their evil blade. This poem (it does not merit such a peaceable designation) may have been written concerning the Napoleonic incursions, or Hitler's carving up of the European continent. But the horror of war remains with us. "Wars and rumors of wars" will come before the end, Jesus said. Even so, Lord Jesus, come!

A Better Place

Behind my eyelids
Is an intimate
Screen
Upon which is displayed
Every manner of sensory
Delight.

Last night
I journeyed in
A horse-drawn surrey
Across idyllic meadowlands
Into a leafy canopy
Of splendid timber.

My mind
Filled in the blanks.

I knew the presence
Of an unseen
Companion
That journeyed with me
Silently
Warmly.

I inhaled the zephyr of
Aromas.

Blond grasses
Freshly mown
Were bundled onto trailers
For storage as winter feed.

Wildflowers
In and out of season
Pale blue
Yellow and burgundy bloomed
Fragrancing the red clay road.

The regular clomping
Of my horse’s hooves
Counted cadence
To the passing of seconds
Minutes and hours.

No contrails
Unzipped the sky.
No jangle of devices
Marred the moment
No hurry
No distraction.

The destination
Was not the matter.
Every particular was contained
In the pleasant passage.

So unlike the buzz and bluster
The hurry and hoo-doo
Of contemporary transport
My imagination
Became a conduit of conveyance
Taking me to a place
Unreached by a century and a half
Of “refinement.”

I must close my eyes more often.

Transition to the soul’s
Better place
Is but a membrane distant.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Recommendation

Illusions
Abound
Some lethal
Others harmless.

It is for the individual mind
To discern
Credible threat.

A harmless walk
In the sunshine
Is joy to the soul.

Resting
Half asleep
In one’s backyard
Is restorative.

Yet
Disaster lurks
Ready to pounce
On the unexpecting.

A stray bullet
Finds the head of a child
Playing
In his grandparent’s yard.

A brick falls
From a century-old church
Striking and killing
An innocent pedestrian.

All peace
All safety
Is illusory
In this fractured world.

No one may truly know
Whether the next moment may bring
Pleasure
Or pain.

The remedy?
There is none.

But there is a
Recommendation:
Live life to the fullest
Knowing that the sands
In the glass
Hidden to us
May drain at any time.

Live!
Love!
Laugh!

Disregard
The fear inherent
In this age of terror.

Live every moment
With tenacious enthusiasm
As though it were your last.
And thereby defeat
The lurid threat
Of this darkening age.

Merciless Patience

My grandmother
Chased wasps through her house
With a pair of scissors
In her hand.
Patiently she pursued them.

Suddenly
Like Arkansas heat lightening
She struck
Snipping a wasp in twain
In mid-flight.

It was both a chilling
And wonderful spectacle.
And it was a lesson
To her little grandson.

She taught me
To pursue my troubles
Rather than to hide
From torment.

And further
To initiate a pre-emptive
Strike.

Never wait for misery
To assail you.
Strike swiftly at misery.

This is, of course, impossible, unless
You have a pair of sharp scissors
And the merciless patience
Of my grandmother.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Secrets

Secrets may bind hearts
As surely as love.

Secrets shared
Are secrets compounded.

It is no longer the secret
But the secret that there are secrets
That knot the attachment.

Quietly held
The way evening holds shadows
Unspoken mysteries
Like darkening hues
Grow more potent
As time passes.

At an undetermined point
Parallel lines converge at infinity.
The secret
And those who held the secret
Become known.

The secret dissolves
And loses its mystery.
The power that bound the two
Instantly disappears
And its particle remnant
Is known as shame.

The two secret keepers
Once fast friends and collaborators
Now cannot tolerate the presence
Of one another

The world clicks
Its collective tongue
And a new secret is born.

The new secret is
That secrets themselves
Are not based in love
But desperation.

An Eager Student

What can you tell me?
Believe me, I’ll listen.
I’m you’re eager student.
Tell me what, why and when.

There is much I don’t know.
But I’m ready to learn.
I’ll receive all your teaching.
I’ll study every concern.

I sit in rapt attention.
Tell me all that you know.
I’ll take it and determine
The way I must go.

I’m watching your life
The way that you live
That I might make use
Of all that you give.

I will be your best student.
Make me as wise as you can
That I might grow tall
In the garden of man.

Guns on the Hill*

They put guns on that hill
Overlooking this straight
Polished cannons of brass
Gleaming, bright and ornate.

They put guns on that hill
To train on these narrows
Impervious to rifle shot
Lances and arrows.

They put guns on that hill
To rain down fires of hell.
How many were slaughtered
God only can tell.

Warriors climbed these slopes
With ropes, chains and claw
Only to perish
At the cannon’s fierce maw.

But all the guns in the world
Cannot prevent those
Who arise from within
To challenge and oppose.

As testimony, silent
The cold guns now stand mute.
The folly of war
Only fools will dispute.

*I have never been a "dove." In truth, I have been a "hawk" all my life. But I hate war. It is all foolishness and folly, and must only be waged with wise and prudent council. Once waged, it should be full and swift. But God forgive us all for creating a world in which freedom must be secured at the cost of blood, and the sacrifice of a generation of young warriors.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

I Have Learned

I have learned
A man can sleep beside someone
And be utterly alone.

I have learned
You can shave a face
For sixty years
And not know
The man in the mirror.

I have learned
What touches the soul
Must touch the body
But what touches the body
Need not touch the soul.

I have learned
That true satisfaction
Is often wordless.

I have learned
The higher I sit
The further down I look.

I have learned
That music of the soul
May be tuneless.

I have learned
That the man
Who is your friend
Need not tell you he is.

I have learned
That the summation of life
Is always too early reckoned.

I have learned
The darkest clouds
Sometimes contain
The least rain.

I have learned
The best love-making
Is usually less energetic
And endures everlastingly.

I have learned
My best wisdom
And keenest insight
Was learned in childhood.

I have learned
The deepest
Most profound misery
Was inflicted
With a dull blade.

And I have learned
That nothing I have learned
Is final and absolute.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Diner

In morning life
The Diner thrums.

Swirling
In sensory mosaics
Aromas mingle
Into amazements
Of coffee
Bacon
Eggs and buttery toast.

An auditory feast
Of clinking dinnerware
Plates
Cups
And conversations
Cresting
Then lulling
To crest again
The way the surf casts itself
Breaking
Onto tens of thousands of beaches.
To recede again.

Eyes rejoice in prisms of color
Brightened by morning light
Filtering through high clouds
And filmy café windows
Washing across a kaleidoscope
Of patron’s shirts and caps
And the hurry of servers
Lofting plates and pots
Like circus performers
Above their heads.

Tangled into a corner booth
Order taken
I watch faces
Eyes
And the quick movement
Of fingers hooked through cup holds
Of mouths hurriedly chewing breakfasts
Of waitresses and busboys
Of the leaving of dollar tips
And the jovial cashier
Making change and jokes
The retrieval of caps
Purses and coats
Feeling the cool autumnal air
Invade the inner warmth
As the glass door admits new
Hungry morning crowds.

I come to the diner
To immerse
Into lives
Webbed temporarily
By a common need:
The fellowship of food
The blending of motion
Splashes of living paint
And cacophony of noises
Fixed to a menu
Beyond that listed on paper.

It is a conurbation of hurry
Electrons of diners
Orbiting
A nucleus of victuals.

It is drama and comedy
Stewed and steamed
Into early morning delights.

All this
And coffee too!