And has there ever been, from birth
Any moment, or breath,
Some collision of word, or flesh,
That was ever anything of worth
Without You wrapped in it?
We dig our gardens, our graves,
Passing our rote to little minds,
Studying tides, and stars, and all kinds
Of grasping, assuming we’re saved
By our tasks and do we miss You?
Let the floods commence
Eroding our mud breaches
Folding in on what we teach is
Our greatest recompense:
The surviving members of creation.
You will come with mighty roar
Like the oceans we adore
And our proud knees will drop
And our hard hearts will stop in our proud chests
On the dry shores of our vested interests.
Will we forget our complex knots?
Our webs of assent, the tangles
Of all the wisdom we’ve mangled
And all the lies we’ve bought,
Even so, Lord Jesus, come.
Here sits the castle of my soul,
Touched by rot and ruin,
Cramped and narrow,
Housing doubts, fears, confusion
Standing room only
This aged mansion
Can’t hold the immensity
The vast expansion
Or colored intensity
Of a summer sunset.
Man from clay,
But here I lie, on earthen hill,
My corridors splay
Insufficient to fill,
To swallow the ground beneath
Incapable of cleansing my stains,
Or repairing my breach,
Created: I cannot contain
These elements beyond my reach
Beyond my reason
But even they have a first:
God’s handiwork unfurled.
He fills to burst the
Confines of this world
That cannot contain Him.
And how small am I?
Woven in the womb’s darkness
By His delicate design
And omnipotent sparks
Of fragility and fate
And I ask Him to abide
In this broken abode.
I ask Him to hide Himself inside,
This God I know
Of fire and radiance
I ask Him into this crumbled pittance
Decaying more each season,
Because denying Him admittance
Is no small treason,
This Creator who can neither be contained,
Nor ever moves He in vain.
I’ve succumbed to this infirmity,
Like spiritual leprosy,
Slipping beneath the pallor,
Aching in my joints:
It only hurts where I bend.
And I’m numb again,
My nerve-endings fall mute
But I have called to You
And You are willing.
I hold my breath.
Still on my bed, like stone death
And my fears crush my feet,
Clinging like gasoline and smoke
Paralyzed under the weight
Tormented by what I can’t escape
And I can’t get up, get away,
I can’t crawl to You,
But You will come; You will speak.
Tossed in feverish apparitions,
Bound by my inhibitions
Fueled with burning skin
And thought and imagination,
What is true, objective reality,
And what is birthed inside me
In the flame and misery
Of these spiritual infirmities?
But I believe You’re able:
Touch these hands
Set this fever to flee
So I can stand, so I can see
So I can serve Yours as You’ve saved me.
This under-the-bushel life:
This hush-or-you’ll be seen,
Silent in the strife,
Lucid in the dream,
When I should let it burn.
This habit I’ve worn,
These lies I’ve swallowed
Hiding what’s torn,
Filling what’s hollowed
By grief or scorn
With whatever can’t burn,
I keep the wick trimmed
Waiting for an invitation,
But when beckoned, I dim
In reckless hesitation
Because the light burns
But these dark nights
Call my name
And if light gives sight,
Bring on the flame
It’s time to ignite
My resistance and my purpose
To see what burns,
And what remains.
Truth, applied again, like balm to a sear
Burned by my sin, myself, my fear,
When this brilliant ray of hope appeared
All my failures somehow met:
My pale faith, my proclivity to forget,
Folded into my profound debt
And paid in full by His profound gift.
My sin won’t force me to be dismissed
Because His sacrifice will ever exist,
And He is faithful, and has made it just
To forgive and cleanse my muck and rust
To lay the ground for unbroken trust
By drinking all my death and hell,
The gnashing teeth I once indwelled,
To bestow His righteousness as well.
The gift, beyond my comprehension,
By His life and death, resurrection and ascension,
Has covered these sins, too loathe to mention,
With white-hot, smoldering purity
Draping me in white robes of amnesty
So He may look in love on me:
A filthy slave now clean and free,
Adopted into His family.
I’m no guiltier than the moon,
Credited with shining white
And causing howls, or lovers’ swoons,
But possessing no inherent light
Merely collecting forgotten rays strewn
On the lost side of the dark of night.
I’m no guiltier than the mirror clear,
Reflecting all you hate, you fear,
All you adore now lost among
The wrinkles and smears
Depleting the memory of the young
You once wore here.
I’m no guiltier than the pen,
Or the fingers clutching tightly:
A marital dance, twirling again,
Ever swirling sprightly
Through the aged den
Of the unavoidable and the unlikely
Colliding into truth when
I speak in verse; I speak rightly.
We covered it like secret fear,
Pranced and hid in the now and here;
Children giggling in a static maze,
Dancing through the twilight haze.
Under our fear of responsibility and impurity,
We harbored hatred for maturity:
Divided sympathies, diluted resolve.
We struggled to stay uninvolved,
But Father Time kissed our eyes.
Were our truths or our lies
Most bitter? I cannot remember.
In our tantrums we torched the timber
Of the pretty words we shared.
We poisoned ourselves, and dared
Each other to drain the drought
Starving our passion, feeding our doubts,
And aging us against our will.
How I loved you still,
All Roman marble, a chiseled face,
Pale skin carved in immobile grace,
Until you burst into flame again.
We couldn’t both burn the same then,
Or all would be consumed.
With murderous hands, I suppressed the bloom.
I buried our secret to the depths inside,
Pretended I’d grown and watched it die.
I feigned forgetfulness, aversion, apathy.
With intensity you fought for my honesty,
Pleading and shaking, tremors of breath,
But I was committed to the death.
Our common words took opposing inflections.
We ran our maze in opposite directions.
While in a grave unknown, I carried our bones,
The secret that kept me safe, alone.