Isaiah 26:12-15 (*text version)

*If you would like to see the visual poetry version, click here.

Long ago there were vast giants
roaming all throughout this land
they were raging, they were roaring
devouring everything at hand

And the land was full of groaning
and the ground was full of pain
and the very dust cried out at the
great weight of so much shame

And the years blurred by in agony
as the structures fell apart
a cry with every new destruction
and each new cracking of the heart

And then one day in walked a Stranger
gentle, quiet, full of wrath
there and then began a war
nothing short of a blood bath

And by little and by little
sometimes inches at a time
crushed those giants as He conquered
each one crashed, all down the line

But those giants I had worshiped
and I screamed as each one fell
though they beat me and abused and
dragged my soul through so much hell

There was blood, there was such blood
and such an awful lot of pain
and there were seasons so extended
full of grey and full of rain

And then one day there fell a silence
a peace profound upon my heart
and that first second rage was stilled
it almost made me come apart

Because the battle was pronounced
by breaking that last rebellious bone
and the sword was put away
as my new King took up His throne

Giants once so large with violence
fully too much for me to beat
muzzled now by earth once ruled
a string of graves write their defeat

And we walked along together
and I let You finally steer
and I watched in frank amazement
at each dead thing that stood to cheer

And year by year I watched those graves
as they slowly, surely fell apart
til none remained but dust and ashes
an echo, a memory on my heart

There are luscious, vast green fields now
there are streams and rivers, too
there are colors and there are wonders
and all point straight back up to You

To the Name above all Names
Whom we now only see in part
the One who brought down every giant
for love of my unbeating heart

And by this You’ve gained the glory
in me, extended out Your reign
and I, full up to bursting rise
to shout with joy Your Name

You alone do we here honor
all You alone here now have done
as we wait for that soon day
when our race will, at last, be won

Kneeling, a Lament.

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

I sing a lament
of a nation divided
a strong man pulled down
right on down to his knees

But worse still and so infinitely
much more disturbing
is His much treasured family
chock full of the disease

For we spit and we sputter
with our tongues all unfurled
we devour and bite
we are just like the world

Oh, we cherish our freedom
grab on tight to our rights
leave behind the downtrodden
ignore all of their plights

Blessed are the peacemakers
Blessed too are the poor
Blessed are all who mourn
but don’t ask me to pay more

He told us we would suffer
but we run from the pain
He called this life temporary
but we build palaces in our name

We’ve refused to give grace
we’ve refused to shut up
when our feelings are pinched
we back up with a truck

Full of memes and blog postings
that we copy and paste
and we wound our dear brother
to our sister lay waste

And the enemy prowls
and the enemy seethes
and the enemy lies
and the enemy breathes

And we’ve stopped looking out
and we only look in
fighting fighting each other
he looks on with a grin

Oh your music is different
so much different than mine
and your interpretation
is not yet quite divine

Let me tell you the truth
that only me and mine know
and each “truth” with no love
wielding death with each blow

Oh our body it’s bleeding
can’t you see each sweet part
irreplaceable, magnificent
altogether, but apart

Because we’re losing this battle
each long day that goes by
we are self-amputating
can’t you hear His pained cry

Of My love they should learn
when they watch how you love
yet you’re ripping and tearing
as I still bleed up above

And the enemy laughs
my oh my does he scorn
for this day he has labored
since the day he was born

Oh dear Father forgive us
how we’ve trampled Your name
how we’ve scorned Your beloved
who don’t act quite the same

We’ve forgotten the words
and the warnings You gave
and we’re flying full tilt
once again to the grave

We are bleeding before You
ripped ourselves limb from limb
and if You don’t come to us swiftly
what comes next is quite grim

I sing this song of lament
from my knees, here’s my part
Yours alone to forgive
start with me, change my heart

God please knit us together
help us stand once again
side by side, hand in hand
turn our back to our sin

Help us forget what we want
look to You for our needs
open-handed, show the truth
for the truth the world pleads

Only You God are worthy
only You speak the truth
and the liar is strong
but he’s nothing like You

So we wait here together
we wait here on our knees
because we know You are faithful
and that You hear all our pleas

Is This What You Meant?

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad from Pexels

Is this what You meant when You made me? When You formed me? When You planted the spark in my mother’s womb? 

Is this what You meant before the universe burst to life, when You chose this exact moment of history to place me within?

Is this what You meant, for me to flourish inside a marriage I never wanted nor sought, for which You had to painfully rip away the scar tissue so I could fit into this wonder?

Is this what You meant, this endless ache of distance from family and dear ones, to give me a tiny glimpse of Your time far away from home and the familiar?

Is this what You meant when You made me? This bag of aging bones, couple pints of blood, under-utilized brain and often half-hearted attempts to live? This imperfect image of You constructed from specks of dust?

I want what You meant. All You meant. All the life. All the breath. All the blood. All the gasping for oxygen as we wind up and up and up, drawing every day nearer to that highest, long-sought summit. Until finally we reach the pinnacle of the fullness of You in me, and we stand and gaze in wonder.

Night Watchman.

Here all night I’ve been waiting
‘most the whole night through
and the sun’s rays are breaking
now the dawn’s coming new

I thought I might not make it
shaky moments aplenty
those dark hours of the night
under a sky vast and empty

Yet I’ve kept my lamp burning
held it high, all aloft
and I’ve called to all near
as they walk by and scoff

But as dawn breaks I’m tired
and I just want to sleep
it’s so long I have waded
through a darkness so deep

I am heartsick with longing
and my eyes they grow dim
for a glimpse of the step
just one moment with Him

I have waited and kept to
the word that I made
though the original cost
many times more have I paid

For I look to my left
and that friend he is gone
and I look to my right
and she too has moved on

And my arm grows so weary
full of hope long deferred
for the dawn brings no comfort
not one single, kind word

There is grief in my heart
everywhere that I gaze
we all stumble to see
through this terrible haze

Will He come here today
will it be one more year
will I die while I wait
will they wake up and hear

Now my light flickers crazy
and my strength disappears
as my knees fold from wanting
and my eyes flood with tears

But my lamp does not break
when it slips from my grasp
nor do I come apart
when I fall down at last

For there stands here beside
as I lay on the ground
the One for whom I have longed
and at once, I am found

When did I miss His coming
were my eyes closed in pain
had I let out a cry
once again cursed His name

But here He is with me
all that matters is now
and His rightful place taking
at His feet I do bow

And He pulls me up tall
as He hands me my light
and my hope is renewed
by His terrible might

Once again He has given
strength enough for today
and if tomorrow He tarries
at His feet I will stay


His kindness led me to a place
I never would have gone
a realm of strangeness, full of hate
His hand brought me along

His kindness broke my back upon
that rod so long and hard
twisted my body to and fro
amidst that desolate yard

While others suffered by my side
I thought of only me, so
His kindness kept twisting the knife
as I struggled to break free

And when at last I’d had enough
when my body’d given out
I looked to heaven, full of hate
and heaved a mighty shout

His kindness pushed me down so hard
I lay gasping in the mud
the grave it opened all around
the stench of hell a flood

In His kindness He broke every bone
my body, how He pummeled
if only I had known at first
my pride I would have crumbled

But there upon the verge of death
His kindness was completed
when I called His name He came so fast
that hell itself retreated

He reached His hand, grabbed hold of mine
we slipped those chains with ease
He breathed new life o’er every cell
and drowned me in His peace

Oh His kindness looked not how
nor what I ever had expected
but it was worth each injury to see
my soul, how He protected

It was His kindness that did crush me
and here now I testify
though at times I could do nothing but
hang my head right down and cry

It was His kindness that did lead me
on that day to Calvary’s tree
broken, beaten, dying, faint
I did at last there bend my knee

He walked with me through broken trails
through paths shadowed with death and fear
and He would trod each one again
He counts my soul so very dear

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Long ago I wandered freely
through the dark and lonely night
I went where’er I chose
proclaiming it to be my right

What it was You saw inside me
I will never understand
there I was so crazy, thrashing
dying there in that quicksand

But You quickly ran up to me
and You pulled me from that fight
and I’m all convinced You saved me
on that long and lonesome night

I was wild until You claimed me
burnt Your name upon my side
and began the work to tame me
teach me to with You abide

This weight You placed upon my back
these reins that hem me in
this bit that keeps my mouth contained
this whip, sometimes it breaks the skin

I know how I am formed and
what wild blood still runs beneath
and I remember wounds well-earned
by evil thought and evil deed

Oh I thank You for these traces
and I thank You for this load
I’ve seen worse ways to reach the end
and much more horrendous roads

And those roads they still do call me
as I yearn for dark, old trails
tormented forests that I know are
full of all my dark, old fails

So I thank You for these traces
and this bit that keeps me true
for the whip that cuts so deeply
when I try wandering anew

There is joy in this full weight
that pulls so hard upon my back
even joy in the long hill-climbs
that build me up where I do lack

For I know I tire so quickly
and I know the road is long
but as long as You stay with me
soon we’ll sing a victory song

Time and time again I’ve shown
that I do need a load to bear
for I’ve bolted and gone wild at
the merest trembling in the air

Oh I rail against these traces
and I rail against this weight
and I grumble as we stand here
why You can’t leave me to my fate

But You formed me and You know me
planned e’en these stripes upon my back
and You measured out exactly the
weight that’s needed in my pack

At times I wish I could run freely
as I ran in years gone by
freely ran I hither thither
freely bought into the lie

Here I raced death and destruction
there I ran from pain and grief
often met up with the devil
that old well and beaten thief

Now I run with truer freedom
that I’ve never before known
though loaded down and tightly framed
my eyes light up at worlds unknown

As I look around, about me
at the sea of grim, sad faces
it fills my heart with awe and wonder
that You chose me to put through paces

Still sometimes our trip together
seems so boring and so slow
then come the times You urge me faster
faster than my steps can go

As You guide me through this journey
I’m so very, very glad
that the rider up behind me
is my ever-lovin’ Dad.

If you’ve enjoyed this poem, I’d love to hear about it! You might also enjoy one of my Novels, Essays or Poems.

If you would like to buy me a cup of coffee — or even a fancy dinner — as a way of contributing toward my next story, click here. 😉

Brand New.

the light of His face
when on me He does shine it
the strength of His hand
molded tightly ’round mine

the power of a love
so intense, so consuming
it breaks up my stone heart
one piece at a time

a love firm and steady
how can I still be faithless?
again and again pull
my hand from His grip

but my lack and each mistake
shine the brighter a spotlight
His love never changing though
my loyalties constantly flip

His unwavering devotion
draws me back ever nearer
and I long for the day
when my love be proved true

as each morning I wake
and find Him still beside me
with a face full of love
and of mercies brand new.


empty arms why are you aching
empty halls and empty rooms
empty dreams that never flourished
here inside my empty womb

one more time we spin around
we twist and turn here on this pike
one more time our hopes are dashed
though tried we hard, with all our might

how to keep this heart still beating
stand again each time I fall
walk this road with arms out reaching
taste as bitter as the gall

stubborn arms that still are aching
stubborn too full eyes won’t close
stubborn mind that won’t stop dreaming
stubb’rnly bring to Him who knows

it is a wound that few can see
a wound that lingers ever on
it is a wound that draws me closer
to the breaking of the Dawn

here it is my heart in pieces
quiet through this cold, dark night
once more here with You, and shattered
waiting til the morning light

empty hands I now do lift them
empty dreams here withered small
empty rooms, oh will You fill them?
will You be my all in all?

I recognize that this is an atypical Thanksgiving poem, and I’ve been debating with myself about posting it since I finished a couple days ago. But this is what poured from my heart in the past week, and last night as I was lying in bed thinking it over, I realized it represents a tremendous point of Thanksgiving.

I’m deeply thankful to have a Father who holds my hand during moments I would not willingly choose to live through. A Comforter who embraces me with one arm, and with the other shields me from the tormented skies and hail of arrows. A Suffering Servant acquainted with sorrow, who knows where I go to hide and has never despised my weakness. A Provider who abundantly answers my requests for strengthened faith with opportunities to exercise weak muscles, and a Patient Coach who knows when to put on more weight, and when to make me take a breather in His endless, peaceful meadows.

These are not characteristics I learned about my Father in the harbor, in the bosom of a loving family, or when all things were going as I had hoped — they are things learned in the battle, the storm, the loneliness, the sorrow of unmet hopes and dreams, and in the humble kneeling before the Sovereign Throne of Him who sometimes chooses to give hard answers.

And I am grateful, thankful, in awe, at the tender mercies and loving kindnesses shown to me each morning, each day, each moment. In a huge basket of things I’m thankful for, this is the pearl of great price I hold up on display today for its’ inestimable worth — to really know, deep in my soul and flooding every crevice of brokenness, the meaning of Solace.

Green Still Pastures.


Goodbye green still pastures
You’ve served me quite well
I wish I could stay
Tho I love where I dwell

He used you to meet me
We walked side by side
And in your deep quiet
Held me as I cried

You spoke to my soul
While I rested in silence
And soaked in your beauty
Your peace like an island

And He was beside us
Each day as we walked
Your rolling green hills
All ’round us as we talked

Sometimes I sure wish that
I lived here full time
But I’d rather get rich
In the home that is mine

So goodbye green still pastures
It’s been a beautiful season
I trust we’ll meet again
The next time there’s a reason