This fallen world affects all creatures,
Saint and sinner, with the bread
Of hard affliction—mournful soul-ache,
Unjust judgment, creeping dread.

But the God of all creation
Has engineered a hidden path
Wherein the sweetest, purest pleasures
In affliction may be had.

The wise are found in those dark mine shafts
Sifting ore from worthless slag,
While the torrents of life’s hardships
Fall like oil upon their heads.

And the key into this pathway
Where God’s favorites know to hide
Is the simple abjuration
Of any form of human pride. Continue reading “Exhortation”

Two poems

Valerie and I were working on wedding invitations tonight. She found the stationary that she’s been wanting at bargain prices, but we had to order them immediately. This meant that, in order to get our own wording on the cards (instead of stock phrasing), we had to write them up tonight.

We searched for poetry already written that said what we wanted to say, but found none. So I tried my own hand at writing Hallmark poetry.

The first attempt wasn’t so… appropriate:

They called it love when we held our hands together
And called us fools when we allowed not love to take its course
But greater love has none of us than charity
Which lays down its life and takes up another by its choice

It’s a bad omen to mention fornication in the wedding invitation, right?

The second attempt seemed much better, so we’re going with it:

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves
It is He who has brought us together
His is the tie that shall bind us as one
And His mercies that guard us forever

I would like to point out that it’s been just under a year since I wrote poetry last, and now I’ve written four in as many days. When it rains…

And now it’s late. I’m going to bed.

You Never Leave Me Alone

I see you’re into me
Like a Mozart’s into music
Like a Rembrandt’s into painting
Like a baby’s into being
Being alive

I see you’re into me
Like I should be into you
But I just can’t seem to get my heart around
…Turn my heart around

I see you’re chasing me
Like an comet chasing starlight
Like a clock that’s chasing moments
Like a cloud that’s chasing rain
On a sunny day.

You paste me up like sunshine
Like a cloud that’s chasing rain
You just don’t seem to ever let me down
…Don’t let me down

How many broken bones have you found this way?
How many undertones have you brushed away?
Is there anything left in me that you haven’t changed?
It doesn’t matter, anyway—
You never leave me alone.

I see you’ve got me now
Like a ring around my finger
Like a rope around my neck
Like a chain around my arms
As you lead me home

You’ve captured me for good
I can see it in your eyes
“I’ve finally got you where I want you now”
…I want you now.

How many broken bones have you found this way?
How many undertones have you brushed away?
Is there anything left in me that you haven’t changed?
It doesn’t matter, anyway—
You never leave me alone.


I know I have a home in Zion
A land where milk and honey flow
A place where all my dreams and desires
Will fade before the One I know

His glory shines above the highest mountaintops
His patience bears me far beyond my schemes
His love resounds when I am lost and wandering
His grace is far too much for me

And yet somehow, when all the past is gone
When all my brokenness is burned away
When all the crimes of humanness have flown
He still retains the core of me.

I have a home where flowers never fall away
Where birds have yet to fail to sing
Where peace and rest are never far away
And where the One who knows me best returns
To put to rest my best attempts to be.

UPDATE: You know how really good music can do amazing things with mediocre lyrics? Yeah. When I wrote this song, I had the most amazing jazz melody going on with it. It was great. So great, in fact, I didn’t really notice that the lyrics were only so-so. Now, a couple hours later, I’ve completely forgotten the melody and all I have left is the lyrics. What’s more, every time I try to reconstruct the melody from what I remember, it comes out really hick/country sounding.

This song is now totally ruined for me. I hope somebody else gets something out of it.

UPDATE AGAIN: I rememberd my cool melody. Song is better now. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from my disillusionment, though.

It isn’t quite

It isn’t quite your holiness,
And it isn’t quite your love
That consumes me when I first get up
On a well-rested morning.

It’s a little bit of both, I guess.
Like the dew of your tenderness,
It covers me so thoroughly,
And makes me want to run, laughing,
And also to sit still.

I don’t know how to explain
What I don’t quite yet understand—
The dreams I have that peel me open
Like a not quite blooming flower
Revealing every earthed and unearthed desire.

So painful to be ripped so gently open
And so grateful when it’s over
So broken, and so at peace;
So unsure of what I’ve just gone through
And so much wishing that it could have gone on forever.

A Little Lack

It is a peculiar quality of my religion
That it holds the broken reed above the straight one
(as no musician would).
The smoking flax is greater than the bright one
Because it cannot help but to announce
That something in its life is lacking.

As something in my life is always lacking.

So it comes as no great shock to me
To find that I am reaching for perfection
And yet to find that I am never quite achieving it.
This little lack is all I have, sometimes,
That draws me back to Him
Who makes my heart to breathe.


What were you thinking, when you ran
your fingers through the tangles on my head?
“You don’t really love me,” is what you said,
When you asked me for the seventh time
The secret to my magic strength.

Could it be that for a moment
You actually thought you loved me?
Not the man of titanium, so light and strong,
But me, stubborn and corruptible, the one who
Could not decide if he was meant
To marry Philistines or murder them?

You were my second almost-wife,
My second chance to lay to rest
The hostility between our peoples,
My second chance to prove
There’s not much difference
Between a Gentile and a Jew.

We were so beautiful and so different
Lying next to one another
Fascination and xenophobia
Making love to one another

Did you think that I was beautiful
As I lay there, almost in your lap?
Did you smile at my innocence
As I swept loose bits of hair
That fell on my nose and mouth?

What were you thinking when you woke
Me up and delivered me to death?
“Up and face your enemies!” is what you said.
When they took me, tied me, blinded me,
And laughed at my lacking strength.

Did your insides leap for just a moment
That last time I glanced at you?
Your face was the last thing that I saw.
When you smiled and waved at me,
Did you whisper to yourself,
“At last I know he loves me”?

Zachari’s Song

Lost in the middle of a great big wind
My heart is on the fly
Then I heard Your voice and it’s drawing me in
I think I’m gonna cry

I heard mercy, on the wind
I heard freedom, calling… when

My heart is drawing
I will follow
Now I’m kneeling down

I am Yours
I cannot help me
What a thing is life to me?

Freedom found me
I must follow
You are life to me

I cannot
Help but listen
You are all I have

I stand up
My eyes are glisten-
ing I cannot see

Here’s my cross, Lord
give me a road
as I follow

I am not alone

The Fire Inside Me

What am I supposed to do
With the fire I find inside of me,
That lifts the leaves of my awareness
And yet is not my own?

How could I subdue the flame
That burns beyond my regulation
The living light that is inside me
And cannot be my own?

I am enthralled by mystery
The fire that I cannot control
That burns within and is outside of me
And yet is not my own.

Hot off the presses! Yeah. I just wrote this poem about five minutes ago, as I was trying to explain to myself why it is that I will write poetry, even though I know it’s not exactly a profitable market. Do you ever have that happen to you? I know you do. This little imaginary guy shows up and tells you why you’re wrong and suddenly you’re on the defensive against a figment. Those figments are evil, because they know you really can’t get revenge on them. Right? You know you’ve been there, right? C’mon now… don’t leave me hanging…. Oh fine. Be that way. I’m the only one who ever actually argues with his figments. Anyway, I was trying to argue with my figment and I said (out loud, I think), “Well, what am I supposed to do with the fire I find inside of me?” And that shut him up pretty well. And the rest is… well the rest is in that there poem right cher.