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.


The last installment in the Smith family poetry is one that I wrote after reflecting on pictures of Troy and Shanna. As was the case with most of the vacation family photos Troy shared with me, Shanna's smile spoke volumes about her as a wife, mom, and lady. It occurred to me that the smiles came from her heart, and from a life that produced heavenly songs .. the songs that show so prominently in her smiles.

All this inspired me to write the following, and as with all these little memorials, Shanna graciously said it was OK to share them here.

As usual, simply click on the image for an enlarged and more readable version.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Love, Surviving

Yet another picture that inspired me to write a poem was the one shown below. The picture was taken the weekend before Troy died, and shows him and Shanna relaxing at the Gulf of Mexico, at a condominium belonging to a friend, and enjoying each other in as awesome a display of spousal love and contentment as I've ever seen.

I got this picture a few days after Troy had died, and marveled at the love, joy, and faith reflected in both Troy and Shanna. Such a love, I figured, would outlive the passing on of one of the two of them.

There's simply no way it won't carry on in the family. And I can tell you for sure: It is.

Those thoughts flooded my mind as I contemplated the picture, and what follows is the result thereof. It's an acrostic, spelling out Troy's name, and as always, click on the image to enlarge it to a more readable scale.

Hannah and the Sea

One of the poems I wrote for the Smith family, in response to the photos Troy shared with me, dealt with a photo of their daughter, Hannah, standing on the cruise ship and staring out the window. It so fascinated me that I literally stared at it for hours, over a week or so, until I wrote the poem that follows.

I think it's important that folks know they're counting for Christ, and that happened with this photo. One commenter on my website, in commenting on a post that featured the picture included in the poem, said the following:

"If I didn't know better, I would say that is my oldest girl staring out that window (looks JUST like her). Combine that with what the post is about and you have a father who will go home today and appreciate and love his family even more."

Still, today, God touches me, somehow, some way, every time I read the following. My hope is He will touch you, too. It's an acrostic, spelling out her name, and remember, if it's too small to read, just click on the image and it'll enlarge to an easily readable size.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sometimes A Daddy...

My friend Troy Smith died of cancer a few years ago. I wrote a series of poems for the family, in his memory, and in reflection on the photos he took, and shared with me, while the family was on a trip sponsored by his church friends, and the good folks of Spain Park High School. The first is one I wrote upon pondering photos of Troy and his kids, and how he filled different roles and images with each.

A friend in Portland, OR, who was instrumental in arranging the trip they took, organized the photos and sent me the following, which was subsequently printed for the Smith family.

The print on the photo may be a bit difficult to read, but if you'll click on the photo itself, it'll enlarge to an easily readable size.

Yet How Many More ..

Some years ago, I wrote a poem on the occasion of Chris Farley's death, attributed to a drug overdose. Now, we hear of the death of actress Brittany Murphy, and further, today, the finding of large amounts of prescription drugs in her bedroom. No rush to judgment, as dead is dead, but I thought this might be an appropriate opportunity to post my thoughts as to those in the limelight, who play too close to the edge. Herewith, what I wrote those years ago:


How many more will have to die
Before the Lord tells you and I
In words we can’t misunderstand
That we all live only by His hand

And furthermore we’re in a war
With Alcohol … and Drugs .. and more
That overwhelms our spirits so
And leads us to that land of woe

Where the famous die and friends are grieving
For talented and loved ones leaving
This world and going who-knows-where
With pain that’s more than they can bear

God does not trifle, as we have seen
It’s not that He is ever mean…
But rest assured that He is just
And those who do not in Him trust

And give Him sway, in truth and fact
Live only by His gracious act
Of mercy undeserved and free
That He can stop whenever He

Decides that it is fit and meet
To sweep abusers off their feet…
As Chris and John and River know...
To where they never thought they’d go.

So time has come: don’t take for granted
That seeds by which your deeds you’ve planted
Won’t sprout and grow and put to sleep
The life you thought you’d always keep,

And too late come to see the facts
That you and others by your acts
Have drawn the curtain to a close
Much sooner than you might suppose.

How many more will have to die?
Not mine to say, but I know that I
Will not be one of those who do…
The question is … will one be you?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Abortion; My Two Cents' Worth

To me, abortion is killing a live baby. Period. Hence abortion is appropriate, to me, only when there is a real, bona-fide threat to the Mother's continuing to live. None of that "quality of life" issue about the Mother.

Some years ago, I counseled a young lady who told me she'd had an abortion years before, had since married and had children, and was wrestling mightily with guilt over having flushed a baby into the sink. I told her of God's redeeming love and His overwhelming forgiveness of sin, beyond that which we might feel we "deserve". She seemed comforted. But that episode put a real concern, in my heart, for women who have abortions, only to come to grips with their guilt over it .. whether in this life, or the life to come.

The next day, in my office, I was struck by the urge to write about it, and I could not focus on anything else until I finished the poem. Frankly, I didn't like the dark mood that came over me, and I found no relief until the last line appeared on my screen, at which point I knew I'd found the title for the poem

It follows.


The clinics were filling with souls gone astray
As the sadness of badness was having its way
The wealthy, the learned, concerned but with pleasure
Had multiplied misery to heights beyond measure

The masses raised glasses to self and to friends
Concerned with the moment, availing all ends
To serve but themselves, with never a thought
Of the millions of murders, and what they had wrought.

But what of that young one, confused and forlorn ..
Who hears mostly "worldness", shouldn't we warn
That should she die, having salvation received
In heaven she may face that soul she conceived

But killed, by means of abortionists' tools
And thus joined the ranks of those Godless fools
Who elevate mankind and pleasure on earth
At the cost of most everything of heavenly worth

And what of the seemingly intelligent mass
With doctoral credentials and worldly class
Who'll stand before God some day and explain
Why such agony, misery, anguish and pain

Were dealt out in measure unknown by the world
As satan's great plan to destroy us unfurled
And they, in their "wisdom", shed innocent blood
Tearing out children, in that terrible flood....

Who knows what to do and yet does it not
Is guilty of sin ... yet we know that a lot
Of good souls detesting such abomination
Have never submitted to Christ's domination

Else all that we do, and all that we say
Would speak volumes against those events of this day
That cause those who look on this product of woe
To know with a certainty that satan's the foe.

So sadness envelopes us all, without choice
For those who raise not a protesting voice
And all those who face not the fruit of their acts
And doctors who kill despite biblical facts

Will all face a judge asking why, in this life
We did what we did, whether with word or with knife
I know I'll plead Jesus as my only answer
But yet I'm not happy, in the face of the cancer

Of ungodly clinics, and churches that never
Cause comfortable members to be driven to sever
Those clandestine footholds our enemy will hold
In lives that won't do what the Bible has told.

Oh God, may I ask; make me up to the task
As a witness to all, whether they ask
Or silently march to those clinics to kill
Your innocent children ... in darkness so still.

The Land of NeverWas

I was an insecure, shy kid, never had many friends, always felt I was on the outside looking in. Much later, I found out that life was neither what I'd expected, nor was it what I saw, and envied, about the kids who (or so I thought), "had it all together". So .. I wrote the following.......

I recall so much of childhood .. Of feelings unexplained
I've always felt I missed so much .. Of things I could have gained.
When others danced, their arms entwined, while in my heart I cried
I always wished that I'd been there with someone at my side

And when assembled masses cheered, it never was for me
I thought if I could be out there, that I might be set free
From feelings wrapping 'round my heart and causing me to dwell
In what I thought was outer lands .. My cold and lonesome hell.

But then one day, while on my way, delivering some mail
I met the girl that made me twirl, and made all others pale
For don't you see, she talked to me, and lighted up my life
In her dress of blue, 'twas then I knew, that she would be my wife.

In lots of years, through lots of tears, and laughter from the heart
The duo fine .. I'm hers, she's mine .. Has seldom been apart
And God above has used her love to show me life's great truth
That I knew not, when still a tot .. Nor even in my youth

For now I know that even though I thought I missed so much
That those who danced and played and were admired & cheered and such
Were searching too for values true and meaning for their days
And looking for some sort of door to help them through the maze

That truth be known one can't, alone, or even with a wife
Find one's way through and travel to the focal point of life
For that reward is of the Lord, and his alone to give
And we can only stop the loneliness and start to live

When we finally find that we are blind and cannot satisfy
The longings there ..yea everywhere .. That nag us as we try
To do that thing of which they sing on MTV and such
That leaves us scarred and trying hard to finally know how much

It takes to bring us from our pain to light and air and joy
To feel once more the open door we saw when still a boy
Or girl dragged in to life's great din where we learned to live because
We all went through .. every me and you .. The land of NeverWas.

Friday, December 18, 2009