Who would be the first must first be last;
who grasps for first will soon be last.
By pride you fall; you will not last.
God pounds you on His maker's last.
The fairest of all things
is the bloom-burst of the rose,
or so the clever poets say
(with justice, I suppose),
but fairer still, I will insist,
is the smudge upon your nose.
Wherein I Sing Your Praises
You are imperfect, love.
I suppose you had to be.
Were you a little better,
you would be too good for me.
The felix culpa of your failing,
the wonder of your flaw,
fills my heart with gladness,
fills my mind with awe.
A sinner you were fashioned;
you fail upward to holy God.
The same is true of me,
so your faults I firmly laud.
Alas, no more the morning light
will catch the eye and spark to sight
the verdant earth, the azure blue,
and every other rainbow hue
that vests the world to make it bright;
alas, no more the morning light
will understanding's power fire
with vision and with heart's desire,
with waking thought and morning grace
as sunlight gladdens loving face;
instead the darkness, old and deep,
shall turn your eye and heart to sleep
and dreams no more shall haunt your brain,
nor tragic hopes, nor sorrow's pain,
but somewhere, lost in shaded isles,
your thought will stop to rest a while.
The cloud was an elephant chasing a whale
with a sun-gloried body and a vaporous tail
and a turtle went swimming in deep azure sea
as I walked by the road with my heart careless-free.
Before and behind in long, slinking style
swam two whisps and puffs of dread crocodiles
as the sun turned the whale into loving-cup lambs
who kissed and who played in the gaze of their dam;
then a boar and a reindeer did battle with horns
ere the angels went sweeping and twilight was born.
Take time from your day, and the wonders you'll see
if you walk by the road with your heart careless-free!
A Subdued and Pure Crimson
My reason said to me,
I am overarched!
This subtle arrow
that leaves no mark
has wounded me
with logical worship, blessed
to adore her name,
her deity confess,
with the love of ardent mind,
on altar place the best in me
that thought can find.
My spirit said to me,
Heaven is to have the eyes
to see her
framed by morning sky
and by seeing
to find beatitude in the vision,
a new happiness,
a wisdom in passion,
to be charged with fire
that lifts on high
in sight's exaltation
where eye meets eye.
My instinct said to me,
I am undone!
I will ever be troubled
by this troubling one
who turns me over;
and in my reins
I am cast into ache
of love's violent pains,
so pleasant yet harsh,
such truth and such lie
that beats through my veins
and leaps in my sigh.