To me it seems sometimes strange,
Though the feeling is familiar,
To hate and love a thing at once
And never know the true desire.

To discern myself has proven
The task beyond ability;
Learning my own mind and heart
Has only taught me more humility.

Like other men who came before,
I wondered of my own worth;
How could such a one as I
Be but a lesser creation of this Earth?

What contribution do I make,
What gift do I offer God or man,
While sitting alone in dim-lit room,
Another useless, lonely also-ran.

Once, did I not have potential?
A dream there was, dear to heart,
That I might prove–some day–useful;
Have I never moved past the start?

Unfortunate, I do not know my lack
And am left seeing only the effect;
With all that I know not, I know I have
An inborn inability to connect.

How can I be the only of my race
To whom this does not come freely;
Instead of knowing, loving, being,
I might paint the walls like Kurt and Ernie.

But then tonight, at twilight-time,
The Heavenly Painter showed me,
With brushstrokes of blood-red on black,
A canvas renewed each eve in beauty.

The lonely trumpeter taps away
As the evening lamps are lit,
But he gives no sign to carry on,
Or if he does, I do not hear it.

What now, my oldest friend?
Do we go on or end forever
This experiment of our life–
Our greatest and only endeavor?

Dazily stumbling, sullenly marching
Onward, we continue to press,
Against a lack of hope and will
Or chance of once-defined success.

We go—until we no longer might—
In search of a better aim;
Knowing naught but to hope and trust
That all will not be done in vain.


Set Eternity in the Heart of Man

This life is a binary proposition.
The question’s answer is yes or no–
There will not be any modifier–
Merriment and vanity or something more.

Can a man transcend objectivity?
Can I deny that for which I was made?
God has set eternity in the heart of man;
I have not been made the exception.

Only it seems that in recognizing this,
I have been fated to greatness and loneliness
Or offered the obscurity of soft acceptance.
The choice cannot be left unmade.

In separating myself to climb the heights,
I would find myself rejected by those below,
In whom I would otherwise find the appreciation
Of self-congratulation of another who joined the mass.

But this less than madding crowd,
Which seeks solace in self-same company,
Is less than sure of its worth
So that it demands capitulation

From those outsiders who dare
To cause them to feel less than worthy
In their wholly unsatisfactory performance
And woefully inadequate achievement.

For they have decided to rest content,
Hidden away from eternity’s demands,
And hate ever to be reminded of
Their everlasting calling to Truth.

Should I be required to sacrifice the work
Of which I am capable, to which I am called,
Only because others feel themselves incapable
And recognize neither calling nor requirement?

Woe to those who find themselves in good company,
Who have never known the greatness of loneliness,
Who have never made the precious sacrifice required,
And to whom vanity is a comfort.

Little Endians

Greatness confounds Lilliput.
“Who can fathom,” one might say,
But then, it is simpler than that–
Far less grand, less bellicose.

More like a beggar, dumb and lame,
Unable to stretch out our hands
Or to call out to the passers-by
Who might otherwise understand.

And if they could be made to understand,
Would they not take pity on us?
These strangers that see and scorn,
That look down on while looking up to.

Too beholden to their little ends,
Convenience’s-sake has lost its meaning
And attempts to enlighten are lost causes
That would blind all involved.

So forsake and be forsaken is the verdict
Since conformation is not left open to us.
All others are out-sized or foreign in form
And in mind; we are destined recluses yet.

Greatness and preciousness beget
A loneliness, tired and world-weary
From a lack of peers, perchance:
A dearth of like minds and loves.

Everything Reminds Me of You

Everything reminds me of you;
It is the most wonderful and
The most agonizing feeling
To see you everywhere you are not.

Truthfully, ‘everywhere’ is one place:
It is here, where I now stand;
In the remotest parts of the world
I have brought you with me,

Though the only place you now inhabit
Is my mind and in my memory;
For until we again meet face-to-face,
You live only in thought and dream.


I walk the world asleep these days.
Wandering aimless about my work,
Listing from one senseless moment to the next
Until it is time to lie down to wait for dawn.

When daybreak comes, I take my daily anesthetic
And forget how to feel the world around me.
I cannot let the outside in; it might prove too much.
I can only focus on so much pain in each moment.

The hurting is the only thing I feel today,
And even that might prove overmuch
For my already weakened state
From tiredness and ever-longing for you.

We say Some Day and it relieves the pain–
Temporarily. Until I remember that Some Day
Was once Yesterday, or Last Month,
And now even Next Month is uncertain.

When will Some Day be Today, oh love?
To ask you is unjust, for we neither of us know
What tomorrow holds, or what holds the year–
The year with all its empty promises.

So I choose pain over apathy as a last resort
For I need to feel something when I say “love”.
Pain is a reminder of what I do not have–
Temporarily–until we reach Some Day.

Great and Precious and Lonely

I have discovered the secret
Of being great and precious
And lonely.

They say the great and precious
Must be lonely, for they must
Be alone.

But this we had already counted
And weighed and measured and
Found wanting.

Neither greatness nor preciousness
Can exist in a vacuum; they require
Communal significance.

And the reverse cannot be true,
For not all the lonely are great
Or precious.

This claim is, of course, a worldly one;
I will not speak on Heaven’s behalf in
Such matters.

To be great, a man must overcome
Any obstacle, any man, any fear,
And himself.

The task of conquering oneself
Is the greatest test of all for even
The saints.

But greatness only derives its meaning
From recognition by another, seen only
In relationship.

And to be precious, the object must
Enjoy the privilege of possessing
A subject.

That mutual possession we call love
When it lifts us high, though it could
Do otherwise.

But to be held as precious by another is,
As it is said, the greatest thing: to love and
Be loved.

And yet only today, I feel truly great
For I have been esteemed as such by one
Who matters.

And today, I knew I was held precious
For the letter she had written and sent
Weeks ago.

Today, I was alone with my thoughts,
Without one for whom my soul longs, and
Am lonely.

So the secret of being all these together–
Of being great and precious and lonely–
Is you.

A Garden Locked

Perhaps the great and precious are lonely
Because they have understood togetherness.
More, they have seen gracious possibility
Dashed against the rocks of their hard souls.

For I have found the one my soul loves,
And I will watch her run from me in the end.
How could I restrain her–trap her to myself–
The eventual cause of such sorrow and trials?

The prophetess dreams of which she knows not,
Though we have our self-averse suspicions.
Better for her to flee from her unwilling tormentor,
Though neither yet know what she might endure.

We may believe ourselves heroic in self-sacrifice;
The truth is much closer to melancholic resignation.
But even now, I self-prostrate in humility and patience,
Praying that Eve-unspoiled could love a fallen Adam.

None Better

I’ve so long played this game of numbers and percentages,
It has by now given up its disheartening nature;
Cold rationality has always had its own warmth for me.

Few and far between is the best shade of this colour,
While unlikely and infrequent might be the better terms;
Resigned and reconciled are the words I save for myself.

Only you break the picturesque tableaux I have viewed
Through frosted glass and weary eyes–blessedly hazy;
But you excite the senses and clarify glorious potentialities.

I know in my heart of hearts, I could find none better,
Nor even have I truly sought another to usurp the throne;
The greatest and only fear is of an enduring vacancy.

What To Say

You’re sitting next to me at the bar as I scrawl this poem on a napkin,
And thank goodness English isn’t your first language
Or I would be far more nervous about you glancing over
And accidentally learning that I am writing about you.

The bartender I care less about since he doesn’t seem too judgmental–
I don’t mean that you seem that way to me, of course!
I know next to nothing about you apart from your smile,
But I want to believe you are as lovely as you look.

I know I’m supposed to talk to you.
You let me know that when you switched seats–
When the host placed you two seat away at the bar
And you said, “No, thank you,” and claimed the seat beside me.

But I probably won’t turn to you and open my mouth
To say, “Are you here on vacation?” or some other bromide,
Because what if I misread the signs and ruin your night;
What if I’d only be the latest guy to intrude on your alone time?

Maybe all the pretty girls have this problem with bothersome men,
Or maybe their problem is that guys like me
Are far too timid to initiate a simple conversation
Because what would we even say? Then what might you say?

And just when I thought I had my chance to comment
On your unique choice of ice cream flavour–
Really, who gets “sea asparagus”? Who even creates it?–
You turn to your phone and the opportunity is lost.

Maybe Love

I’ve known for a long time that love is more than romance.
It should be obvious, and maybe I’m just late to the table,
But it’s more than the connection, or the feeling one gets,
When two persons lock eyes and hearts begin to churn.
It’s so much more than mutual admiration or affection.

Perhaps I’ve known it in part at least by experience,
Or maybe those years were a mere shadow of the real,
And I have not yet begun to comprehend this truth:
You will only truly know it when you are there–
When you can say to yourself, “This. This is love.”

Could I have said that then? Now I know better, I think,
But then, I would have staked my heart on it, and did.
So is hindsight perfect in vision, or do we ignore the feelings
That take us up golden mountains and into deepest valleys
While sharing life with a girl who became to me life itself?

Is that mad, to have given so fully to one other, myself–
To one who had such power over me to slay with one look?
And yet it was so natural, like stepping from a cliff face.
That’s why we call it falling; gravity takes care of the rest.
All we have to do is let it–or is it all that we can do to let it?

Maybe that’s why the world is mad–so madly in love:
Because love itself is a form of madness in heart and head.
I would not be the first to posit such a thought, but no,
No, I don’t think love is reserved for fools and madmen.

Maybe love is taking someone out of this crazy world,
And freeing them from the turbid clouds of depression
That have followed, slowed, and choked them all their lives,
And lifting them above the fog to see the starlit skies.

Maybe love finds a way to absolve the sinner’s heavy heart,
Laden with all manner of regret, heartache, and bitterness,
Turning stone to flesh and healing our self-inflicted wounds,
Showing one another that life is full of beauty and of grace.

Maybe love is finding at last the one you care for so deeply
That you forget to work, forget to eat, forget even to breathe,
And you find that they love you, too, and your soul finds rest.
Maybe love is saving someone else, and being saved, too.