You Never Tire of Me

You never tire of me though the situation may be that dire,

And you, my Lord, never hire me out to an insolent squire,

And my soul is diffident before you, my bows in adoration

As my hands offer libation in an oblation of heart worship,

Of my gratitude in an attitude of love ‘n joyful resignation

Without hesitation in acknowledgment of your salvation,

Because you never tire of me in whom you light your fire


Beloved Potter: A Dialogue

And this Artist, has he failed in love’s way; withdrawn his hand in utter dismay?
And shall you now in dismay hinder my glorious work in perfecting our splendor?

Standing in the darkness, you never notice me,
So when you look my way, dark is all you see
Cloak of black, crawling ‘neath pale moonlight,
Damned for this life from Love’s bright sight

Ah, my love, I do see you and see you are blind;
Night for me is like light, and no dark does bind
With every day and desperate breath you plead,
I hear and reach and ask you my voice to heed!

In my eyes see the dancing light; in my breath let your soul take flight
In my tears hear the song sung sweet; in my heart the very heavens beat

I dream during the day, living death by the hours,
Till night swallows again, laying waste my powers
And I curse the coming dawn; must pain reappear?
So I hide in my cave to waste away in mortal fear

But night will fly away in the breaking light of day!
Your fears disappear and clear be made my way
My precious lover of the coffin, you will yet rise
To higher sights and songs and love’s great prize!

In my eyes see the dancing light; in my breath let your soul take flight
In my tears hear the song sung sweet; in my heart the very heavens beat

The journey hear is long and weary now the road,
Ominous storm clouds and heavy the heart’s load
I long to dance in your sun, and never fear the night,
Wrapped up in your arms, and safe in your might!

My touch and my kiss and all my heart do I give
To lift your burden and shame that you might live
You are with me, child, wrapped in my embrace;
I have always loved you and out-poured my grace

In my eyes see the dancing light; in my breath let your soul take flight
In my tears hear the song sung sweet; in my heart the very heavens beat

Have I heard your voice and now felt your glance?
Shall I, perhaps, awaken into your love’s trance?
Lie weary upon your bosom, and cradled find rest?
That from this grave I should arise alive, so blessed?

Oh my weak and wounded child, cast away all fear!
Feel my heart, my life, as I catch and hold you near!
And now in ecstasy in my arms feel victory beat,
As our souls now entwine and in sweet passion meet!
Breathe into you the love I breathe and deeply adore,
And I will myself bring you home healed forevermore

Note: First published in June 2015 under a different title, now revised and republished as an appropriate poetic dialogue in celebration of Easter (Pascha). Blessings to one and all!

To the Feast

What am I able to bring to your grand table
For the feast, and I the least of your guests?
My eyes see the spread of meat and bread,
And I wonder how I could have less to offer
Out of my own coffer, so barren and empty;
But as I look upon the plenty you’ve given,
My soul feels shame and so I blame myself
For playing games untamed, the wild child,
Instead of being mild and wise in your sight,
My bright morning star who came from afar
To invite even me into your banqueting hall,
And so I find my place in falling on my face
Before your unbridled love, still asking . . .
What am I able to bring to your grand table
For the feast, and I the least of your guests?
I bring myself

Lay It All Down

Malice, envy, chalice of poison, strife and callous thought;
Bile of vile hate, your seared heart the gate of needy greed;
Seed of lust that must be satiated at the cost of innocence

Lay it all down before you drown
Take up your crown
Take up your crown
And dress in new, unspotted gown

Apathy, lack of empathy, careless ways, and reckless days;
Pride and arrogant stride, haughty looks, and crooked books;
Dirty tricks and bricks and bombs of battle and idle prattle

Lay it all down before you drown
Take up your crown
Take up your crown
And dress in new, unspotted gown

There are better ways for brighter days for everyone
Under the sun in peace and harmony if we earnestly
And fervently seek and find and bind ourselves to it,
But we have to give up all that tears down around us!
Yes . . .

Lay it all down before you drown
Take up your crown
Take up your crown
And dress in new, unspotted gown

Lay it all down before you drown
Take up your crown
Take up your crown
And dress in new, unspotted gown

Prayer of the Damned

In the blackest of nights from the cauldron of darkness
I cry to you as I lie prostrate on the ground surrounded
By harrowing sounds, shrill shrieks from depths of hell,
And plead for redemption, restoration, an incantation
For my salvation in gravitation to heavenly habitation,
But sulfur vapor clouds around with dancing dæmons
And prancing wraiths, romancing my soul with bowls
Of precious poison, but will you hear my call so drear?
Will you come near and hold me dear while they sear
And jeer in frightful delight where there’s now no light?
Is it too late for pitiful me because I took the devil’s bait
Rather than wait on you? But you knew he was shrewd
And I so weak, though not humble and meek, and sick!
Lo, the wick burns out as I dare offer my parting prayer;
Will you save or shall I descend to the cave of Hades?

Saved by the Predator

Eagle flies high up in the sky,
Sharp eye looking for its prey;
Will she spy me, though I try
To hide, in tall grass confide?
Majestically circling far above
Talons cold, there is no love;
And what do I hear in hiding
Now slithering to my abiding?
Large, long, sleek, not meek;
Suddenly the air is pierced
And gone is serpent so fierce,
Up into the clouds so high,
And I on ground bid goodbye;
I breathe a sigh of relief, cry:
Saved from danger by danger
As eagle flew high in the sky,
Sharp eye looking for its prey

Safe in Your Bay: Love Beyond Words

Silently now I come to you on this fresh new day,
And I come to stay, anchored in your sweet bay,
Knowing there is little I can do to repay your love;
Still I come away from all to replay our sun dance
So light and bright, to prance freely in your sight;
And how so very free I now am to finally be me
While the sea beyond rages ‘n no sages can tame
Such dangerous game played by the heavy waves,
But you have saved me from darkly, watery grave,
Safely ensconcing me away in your dear conclave,
And I would be but a knave to stray from your bay
So here I stay this bright, brand new day with you!
Oh love beyond words! Has anyone ever heard???

And My Heart Cried Out to You

I cannot lay me down to sleep; my soul in ashen heap,
Where darkness creeps and seeps in, leaving me numb
And dumb but restless in relentless torment of void;
Have I damned myself to be so removed from all feeling
Except undercurrent of unease from some mind disease
That robs me of joy, plays me like toy, some little boy?
And how do I return to sunny days from out of this haze
When there were none, but some ill-sought comfort
In believing I believed, having an unsure assurance
In preference to being honest with myself and with God?
When only with head-nod did I agree, but ne’er was free?
Oh, but now does liberty bind and grind me to lonely dust,
What must be thrown out because I can no longer trust
You to guide and direct, hide and protect? Did you ever
Or did you sever tie that binds? You knew I was blind,
So everything I left behind, and wind my way down path
Of discovery ~ to walk away from myself ~ but now I drown
In soul chaos and confusion, despair and disillusion,
But most frightening is not feeling, not crying; no crown
Awaits me now, but am I dying lying to myself, or flying,
Soaring to higher heights on winds of Spirit, where you are
And do not bar entrance to those who would know your star?
Is this why head feels too light to delight in journey
Begun and continued to discover for first time; recover
What was never lost; uncover truth and finally know you?
Did you leave my side, not abide, not hear when I cried;
Or am I running to you night and day, only to find you
And stay for one ray of hope, one spark of living fire
Before this body tires; before comes the funeral pyre…?
Or is all this my life but satire written by father liar?
No … no!
Another scream before sinking down again into murky stream,
Black-gilded dream; And will I awaken to see your face,
Every line to trace in love unworn, reborn anew to rise
To heavenly prize, like Phoenix with life you adorn
With eternity surely love and peace will no longer scorn.

Note: Originally published in August 2015, republished due to some renewed interest. . . And, man-oh-man, have I come a long way since penning this poem, thank God!

Amatory Battle Breaking

helplessIt’s a spirit-slide in the winter of the soul ‘neath summer’s burning sun;
Torchêd heart laid waste, undone in flying dust of crumbled heart so slyly won.
Haunted man ‘cross desert plain t’outrun his battalion of killer-dark dæmon,
And here at the edge of the world the battle for his eternity has just begun.

‘Where is your Shepherdess,’ voices scream; ‘Tis but the weak man’s dream!’
And is there no one now to redeem, to redeem this man from Death’s regime?
Ah! Such deceiver has his scheme to rule the man’s heart ere so supreme;
Supreme in dream and waking hour, to torture his spirit and heart devour!

Will she come hearing his mournful cry, no lie, and not redemption to deny?
Will she reply and he comply to drink her life and soft salve apply?
Will she fly this man to heavenly sky, to rest him ‘neath angels nearby?
Will she hereby wrap this man in strong arms, transfix him by hypnotic eye?

Precious and robed in Mystery, she is Love,
Who brings to battle-weary peace from above;
To the soul-sick wound, her balm doth apply;
Divine lover, who life gives to earth and sky,
Hear me, who prays and yearns for your flame
To snatch me from death, my heart to claim!


Step Eight, Part I: We Are Thoughtfully Intentional

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any one; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (Mark 11.25, RSV)

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” (C. S. Lewis)

All along, at every step in this series, we have enhanced, or amplified, the wording of the more traditional twelve steps in twelve step recovery programs in order to show just how deeply and profoundly they relate to our redemption and reconciliation with God. Here at Step Eight, however, we will do more than simply amplify; we will actually emend the Step that classically reads, “We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.”

While this is absolutely, fundamentally necessary in “cleaning our mirrors,” it leaves out another equally important need at this point. In fact it jumps over, or ignores, an obligation given by the Lord Jesus himself and in so doing (in my humble opinion) makes the completion on Step Eight all the more difficult for psychological and spiritual reasons. You see, while we certainly desire to obtain the forgiveness of others and make amends if possible, forgiveness of others on our part is the font of our own forgiveness.

Consequently, our emendation of Step Eight will be as follows:

We recognized and accepted that God has commanded us to both forgive those who have wronged, or sinned, against us, and to make amends for the sins we have committed against others, to the most reasonable extent possible; thus, we prayerfully and carefully began by listing both those who had wronged or harmed us as well as those we had wronged and harmed, (with the genuine intention of making amends those people.)

And this is, obviously, something we dare not do sloppily with a slaphappy attitude. This will require much prayer and meditation, with the attendant help of God and, most likely, others whom we can trust to counsel, guide, direct, and encourage.

In teaching his disciples how to pray, in what we refer to as “the Lord’s Prayer,” Jesus includes, “Forgive us for the wrong things we have done, the way we forgive those who have done wrong things to us…”[1] and he then explains this by telling them, “If you forgive others for the wrong things they have done, then your Father in heaven will forgive you, but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you for the wrong things you have done”[2]

An excellent elucidation of this is found in the Wisdom of ben Sirach, which explicitly warns, “If you forgive someone who has wronged you, your sins will be forgiven when you pray. You cannot expect the Lord to pardon you while you are holding a grudge against someone else. You yourself are a sinner, and if you won’t forgive another person, you have no right to pray that the Lord will forgive your sins. If you cannot get rid of your anger, you have no hope of forgiveness—you are only a human being.”[3]

If we must forgive others as prerequisite to God forgiving us, then also we must forgive others as prerequisite to others forgiving us. The same principle applies horizontally as well as vertically. And note importantly, too, the connection ben Sirach makes between healing and forgiveness, which stands to reason, really. How can one genuinely and profitably begin to atone and make amends for his/her own sins against others when s/he is filled with the poison of anger, animosity, bitterness and the like? Or truly begin to heal while filled with such poison?

The late 19th/early 20th century Congregational minister and social activist, Washington Gladden, rightly explained to his congregation:

To be forgiven is to be brought into harmony with God, to be one with him in thought and wish and will. But God’s atoning love seeks to reconcile all people unto himself; and his forgiveness embraces all his children. You simply cannot be in harmony with him while you are at enmity with your neighbor… O beloved, is it not clear that if we desire to be the children of God in heaven, we cannot have any enemies?[4]

To say that this is not easy would be an extremely gross understatement, especially for so many who have been so deeply harmed and horribly wounded in life. In fact, it may very well be that, without special divine intervention, forgiving some particular individual instantaneously is impossible. Forgiveness may be, and often is, an excruciating and long process, given the particulars of whatever is ultimately to be pardoned. What then? Should we expect God to withhold forgiveness of our sins and wrongdoings in the meantime?

I certainly do not believe this to be the case at all. God is infinitely loving, kind, patient and, yes, empathetic. And I purposely use the word “empathetic” because the author of the Epistle (or Letter) to the Hebrews reminds us that “because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted (tested and tried), He is able [immediately] to run to the cry of (and assist, relieve) those who are being tempted and tested and tried [and who therefore are being exposed to suffering].”[5] Thus, the Lord truly does understand and empathize.

So what do we do, then? Well, at this stage, Step Eight, we simply begin by listing both those who have wronged or harmed us, as well as those we have wronged and harmed, prayerfully and carefully, with the real intention to both forgive, however long and arduous the process, and to make amends to those whose forgiveness we seek and need. At this point ~ this very difficult point ~ this is enough. If we cannot presently forgive some individual(s), fully and freely, then our serious and prayerful intention to progress toward that goal with the help of God is enough.

Otherwise, of course, we do forgive each and everyone we legitimately can forgive fully and freely, and we do so now, without hesitation, putting whatever hurt or wrong behind us … like water flowing under the bridge out into the sea of forgetfulness, and we move on.

[1] Mt. 6.12, WE/NT

[2] Mt. 6.14-15, WE/NT

[3] Sir. 28.2-5, GNT

[4] Washington Gladden, Present Day Theology, Third Edition, 191

[5] Heb. 2.18, AMP