The loudest sound does not echo the longest;
the brightest star seems quite dull from afar.
No one can judge true beauty from a distance,
nor hear a nuance from a mile or two.
The greatest deeds are not always the grandest;
the most humble of thanks are never heard.
No one can see much more than they are able,
nor comprehend what lies beyond their reach.
The biggest fool is not the biggest loser;
the smartest mind may lack all common sense.
No one can say for sure which is the wiser,
nor say the one has what the other lacks.
The loudest sound may be a quiet whisper;
the brightest light, the flicker of a spark.
No one can know how truth will come upon us,
nor which of us will lead us from the dark.
20 APR 2013
How long have I been down, immersed,
a Dunker left beneath the wave
whose new birth was to wash away
my meaningless and lost before?
And whose strong hands upon my head
still hold me under, when they swore
to offer help and kind support?
I recognize those hands,
that seemed so weak and hesitant
to grip my own in fellowship
when both of us were dry, and I
not gasping, weakly, for some air.
I see that smile refracted through
the water now between us;
and somehow, those straight even teeth
are now misshapen, ugly fangs.
Now waterlogged, with burning lungs,
I wonder: were you too baptized,
and left, a mewling helpless babe
dependent on some unseen lord?
Or like me, did the wash not stop,
while weak-kneed saints, unsatisfied
with their own empty, whitewashed space
poured into you their excess bleach
and took upon themselves the chore
of monitor and supreme judge,
in firm belief that what they heard
in whispered voices was their God?
Along some rough Damascus road
a Pharisee believed
the voice that spoke to be the Lord.
Perhaps he was deceived.
07 FEB 2005
To each their own: let others speak
of hells where self-damnation wreaks
eternal havoc on the mind and soul;
its torments let their thoughts embrace,
imagining some devil’s face.
I will not heed such useless folderol.
It should suffice that where we are
has troubles quite enough to mar
our whim’s concept of beauty and heart’s ease,
but to repel all good there is,
for unseen promise, is hubris,
and shows our vain humility in shame.
What hells you make, keep for your own;
and if that means you must disown me,
then so be it — I am not to blame.
I do not worry for my fate,
on sulphured brimstone meditate,
or wince imagining my flesh on fire.
Instead, I seek right now right here,
to walk straight on, and have no fear,
accepting both the roses and their briar.
For if you’re acting kind and nice
in hopes of reaching paradise,
you’re only seeking payment or reward,
but I try to do good because
it’s worth the doing. If that’s flawed,
I’d rather know that Devil than your Lord.
20 JAN 2005
If they should tell you all the world is full
of evil, and there’s nothing without sin,
that life’s bitter extent is but a test
to grind away transgression from the heart,
the better to prepare your way elsewhere,
or that salvation is beyond our grasp,
enmeshed in esoteric rites and laws
requiring a third party to reveal,
know this: they haven’t listened to the word
that fills the universe with life and breath,
but learned about the sacred second-hand.
And should they tell you that they speak to “God”,
or know “His” plan for you, just smile and nod,
and seek the source if you would know the truth.
13 MAR 2004
Posted in Poems
Tagged communication, daily poems, evil, gossip, hearsay, ignorance, proselytizing, salvation, sonnet, spirituality, truth