Decree of the Watchers

Is there any thing I do not have?
Is not my life enviable to any and all?
For what I lack cannot be seen–
Not with the eyes, anyway.

Though the words caught in my mouth–
Is not this great Babylon?
With whom might I be compared?–
Now, who would I not replace?

And so the tree was cut down,
Banded with iron, and left for the dew.
What portion was left to me
Was fit only for beasts such as I.

He has told you, oh man, what is good;
Where, then, does the confusion lie?
Break off your sins, practice righteousness,
And show mercy to the oppressed.

But now let my reason return to me.
Protect me from self-destructive thought–
But let me stay humble and poor,
Lest my splendor and majesty deceive.

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A Jeremiad, Cut Short

Is there no balm in Gilead?
And are you not a physician?
Yet you have called my wound incurable,
And the punishment by you was given.

But it was I who provoked you
With my idols, my heaps of iniquity,
Bringing the serpents to my own heel,
Adders for which there is no charm.

Is there no one to take up my cause?
Outcast–Alone–they have named me,
And yes, the tempest shall consume them,
But I suppose I must suffer it first.

For I lied and called out “peace, peace”
When there was no peace,
And yet you have promised to give me rest
When you restore me in your compassion.

Savior of the World

The final note hangs–
For a moment–in the air,
And for just one minute,
The world pauses to listen.

It is a mournful symphony
That purchases our attention
And causes us to reflect
On self-same sadder times

When hearts were wrung
By unrequiting hands–
Or when sweated blood
Pooled at grounded knees.

But grief is the birth of joy,
And suffering is the origin
Of consciousness beyond
These self-serving hearts.

Like the new and renewing
Image of the dying sun,
Hanging on the horizon
For all the world to see,

Those invisible qualities
Were made visible to us–
All those who have the heart
With which to see them.

All such works are derived
By and from the First Creator:
The origin of all grief turned
To joy, and therefore, beauty.

Then beauty cannot but help
To draw us nearer Him;
And thus will beauty
Save the world.

Speak Truth in Love

This will be the third and final poem on a theme with a friend (for the time being). The theme this time is “Seeming opposites brought together”. This poem takes some liberty with that in calling “truth” and “love” opposites, though I base the idea off the fact that so many people do (incorrectly) consider them such. I will post a link to my friend’s poem here when it is published.

How can I explain this to you?
If I only knew a method of teaching
That would cause you no pain
In learning the lesson you hate.

Is there no easy discipline?
But then I see it is like the struggle
Between two foes to submission:
It is rebellion that causes anguish.

And thus put down, the rebellious
Would cry out against the injustice
Of the victors in their strength
And their unmerciful constancy.

The adage owns that truth hurts;
The truer it is, the sharper the sting.
How fit that the highest truth should
Call us to take up our cross and die!

Unnatural Relation

I make no claim to natural ease with
Those connections that others find innate.
This human grace was never granted to me.
I feel myself detached from my fellow man.

And you, you give love so readily,
At the first glance, with many and most takers.
But you supplement that which is natural
With that which seems right in your own eyes.

In thus doing, you have run afoul
Of an edict you have never recognized,
A Law for which you were not afforded the veto.
Yet here, in the court, you find yourself accused.

And though I be not the judge,
I act the hung jury, trying to make sense
Of a Law I do not understand myself–
One sinner hesitant to condemn another.

What could I say to the defendant who asks me
The meaning of the terms by which she is being tried
When I’ve never defined them for my own life?
Are we judged by alternating standards?

I know the tension between assuring her
Of love and of requirements made upon her–
Requirements eternal and real and full
Of truth and love and grace, at first unseen.

How can one be required to give up
Everything that looks right and good
To receive what only looks to be
Empty promises from an unsure guarantor?

Could we trade places, you and I?
Let me be the one required
To forsake all I want and love
For all I reject and need.

Let it be you to whom true love comes easy.
My friend, my friend…
What I would not give for you to know this grace.
What I would not give to take your place.

A Valuation

Is it possible to know
The value of a man?
Can I observe my neighbor
And enumerate his worth?

By what shall we judge
One against the next?
Are all relative, one to the next,
With none to hold the objective?

There exists one Objective,
The original Existence:
Infinite and incomprehensible;
Therefore: incomparable.

Such magnitudes do not lend to
Numbers easy or worthwhile.
Such miniscularity obscures
Any effort toward investigation.

But may a worm judge his kind?
Surely, we who see eye to eye,
Hidden behind the same veil,
Can establish terms of our own.

These, by their various names—
Art and culture, history and politic,
Love and lust, want and need—
Hold what power we give them.

Even I may hold that power,
Insignificant mite that I am.
You then hold that same power
Over me, a needful patient.

And you, same-fated subject
Of my very own: beloved mine,
Does what worth I would assign
Give you meaning or raison d’etre?

I can speak only for myself:
To say that though I know it
To hold no such great weight,
Yet I feel it—a deeper knowledge.

To feel a truth beyond my ability—
To know without understanding—
Is this the furthest edge of being?
Is this to love and see the face of God?

This small measure of His power,
Given to those creatures here below,
Formed in the imago idem,
Can give life and blessing or the curse.

It is relative: all to the Objective.
Yet I was made for it—and you—
To give and receive: life and death,
Called to love my fellow man.

But why task this broken cistern?
Can I give life to the deserving?
To one who hardly bears himself,
How much more to love another?

Resolved

Resolutions in sum:
“Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done
when I come to die.”

But in the details
Is where the money is made by a man (or woman)–
And through work.

“Day in, day out”
Is the only way to approach the goals of a year (or a life)
In order to succeed.

Resolved, we say,
To do this, that, and th’other at such a time (and place)
For one year.

Why this way?
Does one date hold significance for the turning around
Of my life’s work?

So then, “resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit, and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever” from this day ’til the end of all my days.

A Grateful Servant

I will praise God from Whom all blessings flow
Even when my blessing seems a meager portion–
Even when I am incapable of understanding
The awesome blessing of being loved by I AM.

Forgive, oh Lord, your oft ungrateful servant
Who would just as soon strike his fellow man
For crimes less grave than those I have committed
Against You, my gracious Master and loving King.

Your authority and grace bewilder your servant–
How they intermix and combine into Fatherly love.
Far beyond my comprehension are such things;
I can only ask for the wisdom to understand in time.

For Jack, a Blessing

May you increase in wisdom:
The gift of God to Solomon,
And the first gift I ask for you.

What are life and wealth,
What good fortune or fame,
If a man has not wisdom?

Seek wisdom above all these,
For a discerning heart and mind
Will be required to administer justice.

May you increase in stature:
A strong tower to those around you–
One to whom the helpless will run.

Let your physical strength be a sign
That you have the inward courage necessary
That a man must have to lead–and to be led.

For strength is truly known in weakness;
Your humility before God and the Church
Will show the world your true power.

May you increase in favor with God and man:
I pray that you will be a man among men,
That yours will be a life deserving of praise.

But let this not turn you aside from the path;
Do not create for yourself a calf of gold
Out of man’s approval or others’ desires.

Know what it is the Lord requires of you;
Act justly, my son, and love mercy;
Above all, walk humbly with our God.

May God give you all these and more,
May He make straight your life’s path,
And may you follow wherever He leads.

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52

Doxology

How do we praise God
From Whom all blessings flow
When the flow has slowed to a trickle?

How can the praise of the Lord be always on my lips
If–though my cup overflows–
My lips remain dry and chapped?

Praise Him all ye creatures here
Far, far below in stature and in understanding
Who have no standing to judge the Sovereign will.

And in all things, give thanks–
Even now when thankfulness is far from my mind
And I’m less worried about giving than receiving.

But ye also praise Him above, oh heavenly hosts.
Is it easier for you than it is for me?
Are you privy to His will or does it affect you less?

Should I still make a joyful noise to the Lord
If I don’t have joy in my heart–
If I find it difficult to believe my own words?

Praise the Father, praise the Son, praise the Holy Ghost
Who in perfect, harmonious relationship
Govern all blessings and curses on creation.

Am I not also called to weep with those who weep?
Lord, lead me as I attempt to understand
How it is possible to marry grief with praise.

Amen.
Amen.
Amen.
Amen.