The Broken Soldier – A Poem

With a huff and a groan, on a prosthetic leg,

He jerked painfully down the aisle to his seat.

He stopped,

Holding his COVID mask to his mouth

In a grimace.

The pack on his back

thudded heavily down.

 

“You okay, brother?”

Called a man from the rear.

Quick strides brought the speaker

To the seat with the pack.

“Hey, brother, it’s hard.”

– A cough and a groan –

“Is he drunk?” asked the flight attendant.

“No, worse. It’s withdrawals.”

 

“Brother, it’s hard. I’m not gonna lie.

It’s bad, and it’s gonna get worse.

Where’d you serve, brother?”

 

“Four tours in Afghanistan,”

He sputtered through tears.

 

“Brother, I’ve been there.

It’s bad, and it’s gonna get worse,” he kept saying.

“It’s bad, really bad.

You don’t have to stay here;

You can get out before we take off.

If you stay,

You’ll get help when you get there.

I’m not gonna lie.

It’s gonna get bad; it’s gonna get worse.”

 

A whisper and groan,

“I can’t, really can’t.”

 

He lifted his head from his hand on the seatback,

Then scanning the cabin, he looked up at me.

Our eyes met

In the red-rimmed gray ocean

Of his clearing and glowing blue eyes.

I wanted to strengthen him,

To shout,” You can do it!”,

But all I could do was just stand there.

 

“I’ll pray for you, brother,”

The helper was saying.

Another man, too, had offered to pray.

 

“Do you want to get off?

If you want, you can do that.”

 

“I’m going to stay on,” he said firmly,

And all of the passengers cheered.

 

The plane ride was rough.

Several babies were wailing.

Three rows behind me

The soldier was heaving.

The helper stayed with him,

His hand on his back,

And holding the bag he coughed into.

 

All finally quieted as we came in for landing.

Quickly the helper walked to the attendant,

And came back and told him,

“They said you’ll be last. It’s okay.”

Then off whisked the helper to catch his next plane.

 

We waited to see him

When he walked through the gate.

He was last, and they brought him a wheelchair.

 

With muscular arms

He hoisted his pack.

Standing up straight and tall he said,

“I’d rather walk.”

 

That’s all we knew

about the man with the pack,

But that man gives me hope

in my country.

He knew it was bad

And that it’d get worse.

He had said that he couldn’t,

But what he meant was  “give up”.

He couldn’t give up.

With one leg or no legs

He’d stand up and walk.

 

Walking on Water, A Poem


Walking on Water

I was walking on water,

A precarious path,

Every step in danger of sinking.

Blowing and blinding,

Raging and spewing

I looked up.

Was my way sure?

Did I make a false step?

Did my ankle dip below?

What did I see?

Only the hope of your face.

I dropped my baby,

But she could swim.

The Virgin Watchman – A Poem

Out upon the rocky rampart

Unnoticed and alone

Sits the virgin watchman.

Her tears do not distort the view;

She waits and through them watches

Like Anna and old Simeon

Knowing day does come.

She waits and works and watches

Writing plain upon her tablet

Crying for the day

When sons shall run

And read

And conquer

And darkness flee away.

Habakkuk 2:1-3

Rosemary -A Poem

Rosemary

Earth is raped

And forced to bring forth

Not after its kind,

Like Rosemary’s Baby

Half fiend and half man.

Creation groans in labor

Caught in the evil embrace

Writhing and crying and struggling

To burst free

From the rhythmic thrusts

Of the rapist.

The anguish in this poem is for the corrupting of nature through genetic modifications and the poisons created to kill.

The Wife and the Whore -a poem

How she loves him

She gently strokes his work worn brow

He calls and she comes

He asks and she gives

Her gaze intuits his desire

For his comfort she draws him in

to her warm and beating breast.

 

How he loves her

Ivory tower his alone

Porcelain delicate, smooth as glass

A treasure fought for

A prize attained

He sets her high

Atop his cluttered trophy shelf.

 

Author’s comment:

A man may have the wife of the first stanza and yet never realize the gift and never give her the honor she is due. He may imagine a porcelain prize, his idol on a shelf. She is not a real woman. She is not warm, but cold as glass. Her image blocks his view of the real woman stroking his brow. To him glass is the wife he believes he deserves. This warm woman is the whore he uses.

A woman too may have her masculine prize on the shelf and not see the gift in her arms.

The Watchman -a poem

Before his ear can hear it,

Before his eye can see it,

He perceives the coming.

From lonely heights atop the wall

The watchman waits and scans the sky

For bird or cloud or dust or smoke.

He feels and knows, yet does not see.

He looks below at brick and earth

And gropes the ground for movement there.

There’s something in the air beyond,

A song or distant melody

Beyond the audit of his ears, a most familiar strain.

Perceive he must, and grips his silver trumpet fast.

The blast he may not sound too soon,

Or, “Wolf,” would be the cry.

With trembling hand and firming lip

He lifts the trumpet to his mouth.

The time for war has come.

Mark 13:34-37
For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey,
who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work,
and commanded the porter to watch.
Watch ye therefore:
for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning:  Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
And what I say unto you I say unto all,
Watch.

Where Earth Meets Heaven, a poem and a painting

Where does Earth meet Heaven?

After a season of illness that kept me weak and bed-ridden for an extended time, I wrote this poem.  The poem came to me because of a vision I received while in prayer one morning.  I saw Jesus walking on water.  Then suddenly the picture flipped.  I saw him upside-down, as it were, walking on water that was up and the sky was down.  I laughed at the thought, but I understood at that point that Heaven, not gravity, held Jesus to Earth.

 

Heaven Holds Me Here

 

Heaven Holds Me Here

The painting I call Where Earth Meets Heaven. It depicts two realms, and shows a man walking in both. It certainly goes with this poem because as we walk in this earth, we are also constantly confronted by the heavenly realm. We walk on earth and in heaven. We are offered the opportunity by God to bring His Kingdom to Earth by our involvement in it. Earth meets Heaven in the place where our feet walk.

My body may be feeble

Holding life by a thread.

As my Savior walked on water

I will rise from my bed.

 

He held to Earth by glory,

No need for gravity,

And when my work is over

I’ll ascend to God as He.

 

My feet daily walk this Earth.

I labor in His field.

Thirty, sixty, a hundred fold

I pray my work will yield.

 

It’s not Earth that holds me down.

Heaven holds me up.

My feet will ever walk this Earth

While Heaven holds me here.

 

The River – a poem by George MacDonald

I have taken the liberty to name this passage from George MacDonald’s book At the Back of the North Wind and to call it a poem and to break it into lines.  It seems to me to be a beautiful free verse poem.  It occurs in chapter 15 as if it comes from a children’s nursery rhyme book.  The mother cannot understand a word of it and calls it nonsense, but the boy thinks he has heard it before in the river’s song at the back of the North Wind.  I think George was giving us a clue.   [EW]

I know a river
whose waters run asleep
run
run ever singing
in the shallows
dumb in the hollows
sleeping so deep
and all the swallows
that dip their feathers in the hollows
or in the shallows
are the merriest swallows of all
for the nests they bake
with the clay they cake
with the water they shake
from their wings that rake
the water out of the shallows
or the hollows
will hold together in any weather Continue reading