Saturday, March 9, 2013


Some years ago, I wrote a poem for a lady who had lost her brother just a month or so, before. She mentioned some things about their youth, and I wrote a poem called "When Morning's Broken". In that poem, the phrase "the first day of forevermore" just kind of popped up on my computer monitor as part of the poem But that got me to thinking about those words, and the fact that today is, indeed, the first day of the rest of our lives. So, I wrote a poem, reflecting on that fact. It follows:


The first day of forevermore
Is a day of peace, a day of war
As I seek God's will where'er I go
To tell those near the things I know

That God is good; his love is near
To those who seek, to those who'd hear
The voice of God through folks redeemed
When hope was gone for them, it seemed

And hoping that they move from there
To places bright, to places fair
Where God is close and love is strong
And people filled with love lifelong.

Though sadly, though, I must admit
For some in need will surely quit
Before they cross that chasm wide
And find they're on the other side.

Where once they dwelt alive, unknowing
Though they denied it, they were going
To hell to spend those years .. Forever
Where fires burn and they will never

Once again know love that's real
And they'll never have a chance to steal
A soul from hell... Not theirs nor others
And bring unto the Lord their brothers

And their sisters in the spirit.
For rest assured the Lord would hear it
Should we tell them and they answer
Forever losing satan's cancer

Of unbelief and scorn and pain....
So much to lose, so much to gain
But once again I gain my wits
And once again my souls admits

That I can save no one from hell
That love, for me, is but to  tell
Of One Who sees me through this life
Its beauty,  love; its pain and strife

And walks with me through every door
'Til the last day of forevermore.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I have previously written, and posted here, four poems written specifically for Troy & Shanna Smith, both before and after Troy's death from cancer. In the poem entitled "A Love That Survives", I mentioned that Shanna would, over time, develop new interests and new friends. And that new things would happen, and old pains would fade.

Well, that did, indeed, happen. At a grief recovery group meeting a few years ago, she met Jim Swimelar, and over time love bloomed between them. A week ago yesterday, they married at FBC Pelham, in the most moving, fitting, and awesome ceremony I have ever witnessed.

While they were away on their honeymoon, I was inspired to write the following, which I presented to Shanna this morning at church. I believe she appreciated it.

As usual, click on the picture/poem to enlarge it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

When Morning's Broken

Back in the infancy of the Worldwide Web, when Chat Rooms were all the rage, I got my first computer. One of the people I met in the "Bapticostal" Chat Room was known as Purlette. I eventually found out her name was Elizabeth Skabernicky, and she lived in Barrie, Ontario.

She'd, as of then, just lost her brother and her husband. I'd just started writing poetry then .. 13 years ago .. and she asked if I could write one for her brother. She told me that, when they were young, they lived in Orlando (as I recall) and sometimes, before dawn, her brother would wake her up and they'd sneak out, to a nearby lake, and watch the sunrise. He'd show her all the animals as they roused, and she had a ton of fond memories of him. Based on that description, I wrote the following poem and sent it to her.

As things worked out, she recently found me on Facebook, and we renewed our old friendship. She reminded me of the poem .. at my advancing age, I'd forgotten who I wrote it for .. and I told her I'd post it here. In case someone actually reads this.

You never know .....

Anyway, herewith:


In the stillness of the birth of day
I'm led to watch .. I'm led to pray
I watch the sun disturb the still
And pray that God will make my will

Into his own, as I start once more
In the first day of forevermore
To serve a God who's done so much
Through friends and family, church and such

And a brother dear who's no longer near
To show me God and wipe my tear
Yet most of what he meant to me
Comes back to life whene'er I see

The robin tend her young in nest
And I realize God’s plan was best
Not only when the birds He feeds
But also when He tends my needs.

I realize that my heavenly home
Will know no night, yet as I roam
Earth's sod I cannot help but feel
That morning there is just as real

As when I sat with brother dear
And first felt God was real and near
But until I’m there, and mine eyes shall see
I'll hold his love most dear to me

And cling to love's most precious token
'Til, with him, I’ll see morning broken...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

San Antonio's Rose

Many years ago, Ray Jones came to FBC Pelham and led worship for a revival. He brought along a keyboard man named Eric Solar.

Eric was H.I.V. positive, and my first thought when told about that was what the church's reaction would be to that fact. I was Deacon Chairman at the time, and feared what the reactions of some might be.

God took all of maybe 15 seconds to convict me mightily about that. And that led, three days later, to my first what-I'd-call face-to-face encounter with Jesus.

And with my own guilt for what was done to Him.

My response to all that was to write an acrostic poem for Eric. It follows, and please note that the first letter of each line spells out his name.


Even through Seasoning bittersweet
Rejoicing comes in fullness true
I see my sin, despise my faults
Christ shapes my heart anew.

San Antonio's rose, for but a season
Overwhelms my soul; God knows.
Love lifts the veil, reveals the reason
A view of God's own Broken Rose
Rejoice, rejoice, oh my soul

Eric died perhaps a year later. I still have his tapes, and still owe him for being a catalyst in one of the bigger life-changing experiences I've known.

Rest well, Eric.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Two Brothers

About 12 years ago, my brother phoned one day to tell me he'd been diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer. They'd caught it rather late, and he subsequently called to tell me they couldn't get it all out. It was, in his words, terminal.

Within the same week, Clarence Stone, a good friend from church, was also diagnosed with terminal cancer. So, my brother and my "brother" fought their killer along similar paths, though separate by perhaps 1,000 miles.

The differences, my brother a converted Jew, and Clarence a born-again Christian, sparked the following poem, which I had the privilege of reading at Clarence's funeral:


I have two brothers who come to mind
As I sit and stare .. and then I find
I love them both as God loves me
But very, very differently

One of them is flesh and blood
We wrestled, fought, and played in mud
As mom and dad observed our noise…
And watched their sons stop being boys

One sunny day we left their side
Each had his separate train to ride
I went South and Art went East
We seldom visited, to say the least

But even though the miles were long
The love of brothers continued strong
Until this day when I’m sad to say
He’s yet, the sinner’s prayer, to pray.

The other guy I see in church
And he’ll not be left in the lurch
For when that heavenly trumpet sounds
Ol’ Clarence heads for higher grounds!

And that’s the sad part, don’t you see
Forgiveness like God’s given me
Has not enfolded Brother Art
And when this life he does depart

I fear his face I’ll never see
And he will never visit me
For where I’ll be he cannot go
The bible, sadly, tells me so

But as for Clarence, him I’ll see
For the same grace God had given me
He’s given Clarence in the past
When from his broken heart he asked

That God would save, for Jesus’ sake
His soul, and then his life would take
And make it into something sweet
That ends with Clarence at Christ’s feet.

So what’s the difference, now, my friend?
It’s how their lives will finally end
They both endure the same disease
But the difference shows in who they please

For Clarence serves the King of Kings
And gladly tells of all the things
The King has done and yet will do
For every single me and you

If we will do as he has done
And trust our being to the One
Who saves and helps and sets us free
Of things that keep us from that tree

Where blood and grace came streaming down
And made that mountain hallowed ground
Where brother Art, would he but ask
Could find a freedom from his past

Of sin and shame and darkness deep
That damns us to eternal sleep
Where fire and brimstone do abound
And we cannot travel to that ground

Where peace for all was given out
And joyful people sing and shout
Of Him Who saved us by His grace
And gave us victory in this race.

I fear that Art has no such joy
For while I found God, as just a boy
My Brother Art did no such thing
And, I’m afraid, will never sing

Of Jesus love and grace so free
That wraps His arms round you and me
I pray that Art is saved, at last
But I’ll not know, ‘til life is past.

So now it’s up to you and me
Which brother are you going to be?
The one who’ll sing no joyful songs?
Or the one who to our God belongs?

The choice is up to you, dear friend
For only you will know the end
Which punctuates your time on earth
And puts a value on the worth

Of what you live and how you touch
And finally reveal how much
Of God you carried on your way
Each precious hour, each precious day.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


In early 1991, a young lady in our church, who knew I wrote poems occasionally, showed me a poem she'd written. It was about the Cross of Calvary, and it was pretty good.

For some reason, it sparked a desire on my part, to write a poem, about the Cross, in the shape of a cross. The result follows:


Jesus died

Mary cried

Guards lied

Jesus died

While I was lost in my sin and pride
While disciples could but run and hide
While soldiers for His garments vied
My precious Savior sighed, and died

Death: denied!

Love:  applied

Now, edified

We can abide

By  His  side

I  have  tried

In each stride,

He, my guide

Thursday, December 24, 2009

His Brightness, Her Face

The last poem I'll put up for now is one that I wrote for Miss America, a few days after she won the Pageant in the Fall of 2001. Her name was Katie Harman, and her "cause" started as the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation, which had been started by a friend of mine named Fran Hansen. Katie had volunteered at some of the Foundation's fund-raising events, and subsequently entered the Miss Portland Pageant.

She won it, and the rest is history.

I wanted to write an acrostic poem, but didn't know whether to use "Miss America", or "Katie Harman", as the first letter of each line. They had the same number of letters, so I laughingly thought to myself that I ought to use one to start the first half, and one to start the last half, of each line.

That is, indeed, how it eventually turned out.

Peg and I were flying to Indianapolis for the 2nd USA Formula One Gran Prix, at IMS. Sitting in the St. Louis Airport, the inspiration hit me, and Peg went to the magazine stand and bought me a yellow lined pad; sitting there in the gate, I wrote the poem which follows.

I went to the Library in Southport, Indiana, and emailed the poem to Mrs. Hansen; she subsequently set it with pictures, had it framed, and sent me a copy. She also had Katie autograph a copy, and sent me that, too.

It's one of the only two autographs I have, the other being that of Jack Hayford .. among other things, he wrote the Praise Chorus "Majesty", and he sent me a note in 2000, in response to a letter I'd sent him.

Remember, you can click on the image and it'll enlarge to a more readable form, albeit this one's pretty big. And also, please note that the Crowns divide each line, they don't divide the poem into two columns.

Note: The Poem is not two columns, although the graphics make it appear so.