This is a sonnet from 1999.
If such perfection as my mind’s eye sees
were ever brought to life inside my world,
then would I ever bend my mind to these—
the glories of the freedom then unfurled,
the wisdom of the mind as more is learned,
the hope inside the heart of more to come,
the clearness of the truth — the ashes burned
no longer keep me closed to everyone.
The love within me then would overflow
as the love of my Savior flows for man,
and such a blissful state I long to know.
Beyond that grace I don’t believe I can.
While here, perfection only reigns in dreams,
but grace can make it closer than it seems.
This one is from Nov. 30, 2001
My dear friend, how I wish you could have heard
what music rang this night within this place!
Today a bitter spirit in me stirred
in cynicism I could not erase.
Embarrassed moments melted into tears
unshed, and into prayers that God would free
me from my sinner’s heart and tired fears.
I heard the weirdest, strangest melody
and raised my eyebrow critically, until
sweet Zephaniah’s words reached to my soul.
Then “Prayer” swelled with a beauty wrought to fill
the heart with longing. “Gloria” did roll
in Spanish with guitars. How God did cheer
my heart! O friend, if only you were here!
I just finished writing this one this morning. It touches on what I read Thursday – Haiti, Edwards, and Perelandra.
Two hundred thousand dead – I read the count,
and thousands more without a place to sleep
but under the open air. The birth pains mount
under the earth. Above, the people weep.
One little girl, two years old, innocent,
pays for her parents’ sins, left fatherless
because her father is so late to repent.
What cold hearts spurn a child through selfishness!
And then I read of Ransom, landing there
in Perelandra’s ocean, in the warm,
unsullied world with wonders everywhere –
beauty in calmness, beauty even in storm.
So many heartaches in these final days –
bring us through at last to a new world thrumming with praise.
So this is it, the Ring within my reach
and all but forced upon me. What a year
such moments of decision are! I teach
myself and others no, and no, yet here
temptation hold harder than this hobbit knows.
My strength becomes my liability.
Can I trust the short one with the hairy toes?
I have high wisdom, he humility.
No, this is not my task. It must be his.
He looks confused and scared as I say, “No”
with force and tell him what the danger is.
He says, not for the last time, he will go.
I will look after him. Sometimes the wise
are best used as a second pair of eyes.
Disciples in the tempest, awed with fear,
waking the sleeping Savior with a shake,
the winds and rolling waves cause you to quake,
but still more frightening is the voice you hear
commanding the sky of rain and clouds to clear,
commanding the sudden stillness of the lake.
He only says a word. Your muscles ache.
The salty water mixes with your tears.
Just wait till He calls a dead man from the grave,
till the woman’s flow of blood is dried and healed.
Wait till the demons flee – a son is saved,
and even the doors of the second death will yield.
Well may you wonder until the end of days
that these are the mere edges of His ways.
A poem that harkens back to college…
red brick and concrete blocks clumsily painted white,
cracks, side paths,
white paper, black purse,
wall calendar, desk calendar, planner,
breakfast, lunch, supper,
bagels, spaghetti, salad, ice cream,
alarm, radio, CD, computer screen,
stairs up and stairs down,
glass doors, black bars on doors,
bathrooms, shower, pillow,
contact solution, medicine,
hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste,
message-less phone, message-less message board,