Watered Paradise

I climb the wet stairs with bare feet and wait

a moment, sit, push off, slide slippery down

with water carrying me round bends at a rate

that thrills me, spills me giggling and not drowned.

I float, then scuttle on the ocean floor,

up, up the tropic coastline of Belize.

I race on palms to reach the grassy shore.

I laugh, the first to scrape sand with my knees.

Perhaps in the New Earth’s Eden I will swim

eight hundred miles deep, skim the glassy sea

like Peter, without drowning, eyes on Him

who watered earth and paradise for me.

He baptizes with joy, and life springs out,

splashing, within me, from a heavenly spout.



Please do not go, though I’ve no more to say

and words wear out their welcome at the door.

We stand in awkward silence, but I stay,

searching to justify one moment more.

The hallway looks inviting, home-like, and

the promise of discussion yet to come

tugs at me with an unseen power, grand

and irresistible. Yet I succumb

to social pressures, urging me to move

when words are finished for a time, no chance

to let a deeper friendship grow, or love.

I fear and hope to meet it in your glance.

Postponing the inevitable threat,

I pause—I do not want to leave you yet.

Iron and Bronze

Leviticus 26: 17-20

Dull grey, the iron sky hangs heavily.
Clouds cover the sun like a sheet pulled over the dead.
I feel the chill in my hunger, body aching for bread.
The promised ruin pounces speedily
And lingers in each stage – our heavenly
Judge follows through on every word He said
To every generation that He fed
Until we fastened ourselves to iniquity.
The land is bronze (hard and cold and brown)
And does not yield a harvest, nor trees their fruit.
The sudden freeze on abundance weighs us down.
We flee from enemies though no one is in pursuit.
Iron and bronze are His tools, but we won’t give
To the freedom of repentance, rebuff the offer to live.

A Lesson Hard Learned

I finished this sonnet today…


Unclench your fist. The future is unsure,

but that leaves room for victory. The pain

may not come. If it does, you can endure

more than you know until the stingings wane.

Save up your tears for when troubles arrive

(for they will come, and you cannot guess when).

Mourn your losses, but laugh while you’re alive.

Move. If you fail, there’s comfort even then.

There’s greater comfort coming, and a day

all worries end – when glorious Joy will burn

the evil that dragged us to misery away,

and our full happiness and peace return.

For now, relax your shoulders. Breathe a prayer.

Don’t waste yourself on a woe that’s not yet there.

What of These Dreams

A poem from 2006. I’ve been over this person for a while, but the second stanza still sometimes hits home.


What of these dreams:

a house on a hill,

grey/white brick with a beautiful red door,

you beside me evermore,

family of our own sprung out of dust,

and grown on trust?


What of these dreams?

I sit at the table

and read over my food

in a lonely mood,

no one to ask me, “Love, how was your day?”

Time ticks away.


What of these dreams:

to hold someone’s hand

(and whose do I wish for but yours?),

know someone adores,

seeing the wealth inside these eyes,

to let love arise?


What of these dreams:

further up and further in,

endless exploring of love’s charms,

done with alarms,

freely seeking our God together,

A grand endeavor?


What of these dreams?

I fear you will pass by,

marry her without a glance at me,

and let me be,

never knowing what you’ve left behind,

a heart resigned.

Name that Tune

Your new plans play out notes like “Name that Tune.”

Your finger hovers over the next key.

I’ve heard this note before. Wait. God, how soon

will I hear more? Here’s more of middle C.

You go up too high and down too low to bass—

single-note chords, sound pacing down each time

the wide-ranged melody replays its space.

One, one two, one two three, as if You prime

the tuning fork of human ears to ring

with greater clarity when You are through.

The repetition teaches me each string

You pluck and pull before You teach the new.

Your right thumb descends slowly on the key,

completing one line in Your song for me.

For Samwise

I could’ve been . . . I could’ve been. I’m not,

and it’s no good imaginin’ no more.

I’m a simple hobbit. What I’ve got

will be enough for me—my little plot

of land, and old, familiar folk, my door.

All men . . . they could’ve hailed Samwise the Strong

and rallied to my cry: “The Ring is mine!”

That nasty Gorogoroth before long

would be my garden. But it’d all be wrong:

a brilliant shadow creeping with no line.

No, no, I realized I was too small,

and Mr. Frodo needed me to stay

myself. We had a mission, after all,

but that’s a story for another day.