In the Heart of Every Man

In the heart of every man
live a beggar and a king,
saint and sinner, kindred, foe.
He must teach them all to blend.

All the better, if he can
meld the many in life’s spring;
then, when falls the wintry snow,
on their warmth, he can depend.

Thus coheres the inner man
many voices that may sing
out one truth he’s come to know:
love oneself, as would one’s friend.

Then if elderhood demands
more than one alone can bring,
he, in unity, can show
himself faithful in the end.

Artwork by Lester E. Potts, Jr., and artist who had Alzheimer’s

Light of Morning

Light of morning, let us rise
through your silver shadows
to the skies.

Daylight break, beguiling
star-set eyes,
from night’s slumber, waking
to your prize.

Dawn, predestined to inspire,
draw bedazzled dreamers
by your fire.

Over dark dominions,
ever higher,
to Love’s bright horizons
we aspire.

(Photo of sandhill cranes at daylight, Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, near Decatur, AL)

Grace to Sustain

She stayed here and found me when no one around me
could see through the shadows and shame,
and called out my name.
And she gave me the grace that could save me.
A face that forgave me.
A life to reclaim.

She said, “Love, I know you. So help me, I’ll show you
the one you’ve forgotten’s the same,
and I will not blame,
but believe you, and I’ll never leave you.
So don’t let it grieve you.
Don’t try to explain.”

The eyes that I first came to prize under deep
autumn skies, where forever burns bright,
still sparkle with light
from the soul that can make my heart whole
with a love to console
and a faith to regain.

So friend, if you’re falling, the voice that is calling
you home to the person inside,
is longing to guide
and correct you, sustain and protect you,
and those who will love you
can see past your pain.

They’ll vow to believe you, though fate has deceived you
and told you the lie that, from birth,
your life’s had no worth,
and they’ll see you; in sorrow, they’ll be you,
when love comes to free you,
and grace, to sustain.

This video features the words of this poem set to music:

The Hope that Burns in You

Through the window, clouds draw dark the day.
There, your silent spirit starts to pray
wordless sighs to truthfully convey
your desire for hope to light the way.

Once, you held a candle, burning bright,
leading those who wandered in a night
like the one where you, beset with fright,
vowed to turn your troubled soul aright.

Now, you find it difficult to be
all that life requires, endlessly;
rest that you have sought so desperately,
seems to slip away, elusively.

Then, among the shadows that enfold,
someone with a hand that you can hold
beckons you to bow, and be consoled
by the One who’s loved you from of old.

Kindling by an incandescent flame
from the candle of the one who came,
you become emboldened to reclaim
hope that is inherent in a name.

“How, my friend, did you have power to do
something that will help to get me through?”
“Only by the One who’s helped me, too.
Jesus is the hope that burns in you.”

Into the Air

(for A.H.S.)

Into the air, beyond her dreams,
an angel flies away
over the sky where sunset streams
into the darkening day.

Lifted, the burden of her birth
beneath this heavenly dome;
blessed, a boon of greater worth:
her bright, eternal home.

Firm, the foundation laid by faith,
upon the Holy word,
free, through the window shut by death,
now flies the broken bird.

Over the sea that we must cross
at our allotted time,
she, like a windward albatross,
sails toward a sweeter clime.

Gone is the suffering and the pain
that turned her skies to gray.
Pleasantly falls the purple rain
on her homecoming day.

Gather the hearts of those who grieve,
held by an unseen hand.
Cause every doubter to believe,
help them to understand.

And, for the loved ones living on
to hold her banner high,
brave be their hearts, though she is gone;
light, be their wings to fly.

What Will You Bring?

What will you bring to the beautiful river,
placidly plotting its course to the sea,
fountain of grace from the wells of the Giver,
waters of mercy for you and for me?

Will you bring joy to the beautiful river,
hearts that are brimming to see you again,
fires of friendship that warm any weather,
light from the places where love’s always been?

Will you bring tears to the beautiful river,
falling from cisterns of sadness and shame,
blessed by the One who redeems them together,
then drops them gently, like sweet summer rain?

Will you bring you to the beautiful river,
flawed and imperfect, yet loved, just the same,
seeking the sabbath that flows from forever,
for all the lost ones whom Love will reclaim?

Can You Hear?

Did you hear the muffled sound
of a mushroom when it found
in itself, no more desire
to keep growing ever higher,
but to softly set its head
on the wooden forest bed
where God planted it to be
a companion for a tree?

Can you find the place within
where the space is growing thin
between Heaven and the ground,
and the silence is the sound
of a peace that can befall
both the great ones, and the small
who will lay themselves to rest
in the forest of the blest?

My Candle in the Night

This poem is offered for anyone who is finding it hard to keep the light of hope burning within…

Silently, in solitude,
I search for you again,
combing the cold shadows for
a pilot light within.

Bring to mind and memory
past wanderings, alone,
and the flickering firelight
that always led me home.

To a sanctuary, safe
from storms that rage inside,
lead me by a unseen hand
that lifts your light, to guide.

Burn away the drossy doubts
that lay my spirit low,
kindle, from dark disbelief,
faith’s flame, to warm and glow.

Sing for me some song of night
that brings the mourner peace,
offers to the captive heart
a balm of sweet release.

Shine on, luminaire of hope,
revive me by your light.
This is all I ask of you,
my candle in the night.