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Profundity

Father,
My heart far more does pound
For want of being thought profound
Than care for lack of grace.
My face
Displays the eyes of one
Who’d rather be a slave than son
So long as I was praised.
Amazed
I am at these truths twain:
I sin and you forgive again.

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In Honor of Peter and Vanessa Bugbee (A Poem)

When God at first made man
Having a glass of blessings standing by
Let us (he said) pour on him all we can
Let the world’s riches, which dispensed lie
Contract into a span

But what the Godhead knew
That Adam yet had sight to ascertain
For all the wisdom that he was imbued
There was still left a dark, unhappy stain
For he was one, not two

Amidst the grand review
As all the beasts were made to walk a span
Then Adam felt what God already knew
That lonely virtue did not fit the man
Though all his thoughts be true

And as man felt his need
Resounding loud and deep within his soul
The first few wisps of supernatural sleep
Spoke of provision that would make him whole
A joy to touch him deep

At sight it became plain
As Adam first spied she of fairer face
That spans of blessing often bear a name
And there beneath the canopies of grace
Perfection knew no shame

And though they rent to dust
Every goodness save for God alone
An image still was placed within their trust
A shadow of the love that would atone
And make the unjust just

And we in weakness
Through generations ever passing on
Seek to trace what renders angels speechless
The gospel of our Savior, Heaven’s Son
Who as His bride would claim us

It is of this delight
The present joys would dare anticipate
As bride and groom employ to give us sight
Of our eternal, ever happy fate
And futures ever bright

For the Occasion of Peter and Vanessa Bugbee’s Wedding
Upland, CA
June 16th, 2012
by George Herbert & Nate Brooks

Lord, All that I Would Ask

Lord,
All that I would ask
Is that when dusk falls on my task,
When all my tears are in your jar,
The land is trod, both near and far,
When those few scattered seeds have grown
Among the world, among my own,
Is that I still be found in you.

For peals of thunder, lightning, rain,
Fire, ice, and searing pain,
These are the days of man

And as I stand scarce past the start
I am already losing heart
Though I have just begun.

And if the race with man has drained
Me of my strength what can remain
When fleeter foes arrive?

Lord,
All that I would want
Is that when felled amidst the hunt,
When friend and foe alike have done
Their all to prove I’m not a son,
When wounded, battered, and struck down,
And trembling ‘neath a thorny crown,
Is that I still be found in you.

Written in response to John Piper’s message at the 2012 T4G Conference. To hear his message, click here

Little Willie Harper

This is the third of these brief character sketch poems that I’ve posted here on my blog. I’ve long loved the Tillbury Town sketches of Edward Arlington Robinson, poems that are simple without being simplistic. There are usually reflections of the profound in the commonplace and ordinary, and writing and reading about the simplistic usually helps me understand what is complex. This particular poem is about fear. Children running around a hundred peaceful acres in the throes of all childhood has to offer and adults navigating the complicated contours of life both experience fear. Though the adult faces situations far more fear-producing than the child, both experience the same emotions. The simple world of Little Willie Harper helps me see my fears for what they are, groundless under the sovereign and loving care of my Heavenly Father.

Little Willie Harper

Little Willie Harper knew
The terrors of the farm
The cocky bantam rooster
Could do him plenty harm

Easy would his skull give way
To any bovine hoof
If he climbed upon the shed
He might fall off the roof

And when he helped his father
While deep within the snows
He could become as Max McClain
Have frostbite claim his nose

As his feet fell in the grass
While running in the yard
The yellow jacket sentries
Might chase him fast and hard

Little Willie Harper could
Stay paralyzed by fear
Or he could become a man
Give fright no quarter here

I Am Not a Brand

I am not a brand,
Some corporeal mottled mass
Shaped upon the pedestal of style
Hard dependent all upon the whims of other men.

I am not a brand,
Seeking distinction from the mass
Through nuanced wit or nuanced style
Discontent to rank behind the fame of other men.

I am not a brand,
Some light ablaze amidst the mass,
A prophet-priest of the self-styled,
Ascerbic guardians who dream they love their fellow man.

Settling

What good are hands to hold
If they have never gone and sold
Themselves for work amongst the fields?

What good are eyes to gaze into
If they habitually close from view
The sight of all the least of these?

What good are lips to kiss
If they know only cowardice
When kings and kingdoms would collide?

Cliff McGuire

Cliff McGuire had an eye
For all that could be sour
Ever seeing darkened grey
In minted gold and flowers.

Though the cobblestones were straight
He eyed them all askance
When he sat amongst the ball
He wouldn’t ever dance.

The shopkeep forced inflation
The cooper’s barrels leaked
The preacher man was boring
The mason’s skills had peaked.

And when some kindly person
Inquired of his health
He’d reckon it an insult
Against his spotless self.

Cliff McGuire never met
A man he could affirm
For his eyes saw nothing but
The wormwood and the worm.

*Cliff McGuire is a fictional character.