The First and the Last

This poem’s form is prescribed by the “First & Last Form.”

The First and the Last is for real
He takes all our sorrow to heal
Feeds thousands a miracle meal
Walks on the water in a storm
Is baptized with a dove’s white form

Passes through each city and town
Makes the unclean spirits all drown
Is mocked with a sharp thorny crown
The world, He did come to reform
All His works, real love did inform

He taught everyone to repent
To become, with our lot, content
To overcome our foe’s torment
He put Satan under His heel
The First and the Last is for real

“First & Last Form”
There are 15 lines, 5 lines per stanza.
This is the rhyme scheme: Aaabb cccbb dddaA
There are 8 syllables per line.
The first and last lines in the poem are the same.
There are only 4 different rhyming sounds (a-d).

The Two Farmers

This poem is a new sonnet about an old idea.

Two farmers walked out into their own fields;
They planted all of their thoughts in the ground;
Each one must partake of what his land yields,
For what each man sowed was what did abound.

The first farmer planted thoughts that were good;
He sowed what was beneficial to share;
He sowed compassion as well as he could;
The plants that grew supplied him with good fare.

The next farmer planted thoughts that were base;
He sowed hatred and fear in all of his foes;
He ate his produce at the marketplace,
And he became full of pains and of woes.

The very thoughts that you sow and you mete
Are those you will have to take and to eat.

Which Side Are You On?

This is a sonnet about a decision that we make every day. Our actions reveal which decision we have made.

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:25-26 NASB)


Some people will do whatever they can
To preserve their body another day;
They think that the flesh is what makes the man;
The instinct to live is what they obey.

Some try to nurture their soul while on earth;
They believe that self-knowledge is king;
They see that flesh goes through death and rebirth,
And that life is a spiritual thing.

It is important to think and decide,
Whether the soul is more worthy of care,
Or with our flesh and bones we should side,
For our loyalty we always declare.

When at last your body yields to decay,
Will you look on your soul with dismay?

Dancing With The Dead: The Fall Of Civilization And The Return Of Life

What have we done with the world? With our civilization, we have sought to make the permanent out of the impermanent, the eternal out of the temporary. We have eternity in our hearts, but we don’t understand that this world is not eternal and cannot be a firm foundation for our hopes. Bodies and other physical things are, by their nature, changeable and temporary. How could they, then, be forms worthy to house eternal beings? Bodies will never be suitable homes for us to live in, eternally. In a body, we can learn that we don’t need a body to live. However, if we place our hopes in a physical body as an eternal home for our spirit, we will always be disappointed with our body, and we might even attack our body for not being what we want it to be.

In order to make this world more orderly and less frightening, we have done many things. We have made buildings of uniform temperature and size, and we have made highways with smooth, even surfaces and with few unexpected twists and turns. We have paved the world with flat, uniform surfaces because we are afraid of the unusual and unexpected. In our civilization, we have made the world as we want it to be, and we simply cannot see or perceive anything else. We collect the books, music, and movies that reinforce our view of the world. Our books tell us only what we want to know. Our music makes us feel only how we want to feel.

Civilization is not decaying. It is dead. Something that is decaying still has life and can be used as nourishment for another type of organism. Civilization is dead because it is frozen in one type of thinking. It is a closed loop in which few challenges to the expected norms can enter.

Why have we made this kind of civilization? It is because we are afraid of change. According to A Course in Miracles, we are afraid of change because the first change we experienced was the change from oneness, love, joy, and knowledge, to a state in which we are without these things. We don’t realize that another change is needed to help us return to our original state of joy, love, knowledge, oneness, and peace. Creation is currently shattered, separated out into isolated bodies and objects. We make our environment uniform so that we won’t be so afraid of it and so it will resemble the oneness that we lost. However, when we try to make physical things uniform and permanent, we only temporarily delay the change that is in their nature. Our spirits are indestructible and eternally secure, so we don’t need to worry about them. Our bodies are impermanent and changeable, so we don’t need to worry about them, either. We don’t need to worry about anything.

The following quotation is from a book of prophecy called Jeremiah.

“For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
Broken cisterns
That can hold no water.”
(Jeremiah 2:13, NASB)

What is life? Our spirit already has eternal life. Our body does not have any life of its own. It is merely a vehicle for the spirit, and it will disintegrate when the spirit leaves it. What does the quotation above mean? God says that we have made two mistakes. We have abandoned God, who gives us life (who is a “fountain of living waters”), and we have made containers for ourselves that cannot hold or contain or preserve life. I think that God is saying that we cannot find or preserve life with our dead civilization. God must inspire us with his thoughts each moment if we are to have real life. His thoughts teach us what is real and worthy and what is unreal and unworthy of a spiritual creation of God. Bodies and buildings are not worthy houses for unlimited, free spirits. However, because we have made the mistake of thinking we can find eternity in a changeable world, we think that we can preserve our spontaneous ideas and thoughts in a book and call those frozen thoughts knowledge. We think that we can preserve our spontaneous joy in a music file. And we think that we can buy and sell our knowledge and joy. However, knowledge and joy are our inheritance, and not something that can be bought and sold and preserved in physical objects. Our physical objects cannot hold spontaneous life (or “living water”). They can only limit life.

When we realize that our spirits are eternally secure, we won’t put our trust in crumbling bodies and we won’t try to preserve knowledge and joy in material objects. Instead, we will look to God for continuous inspiration and life. Our happiness will come from the assurance that once we learn that all of our mistakes cannot permanently keep us in a state of separation from God or each other, and that we don’t need to feel guilt or fear for our mistakes, we will be free to let God take the final step of lifting us up out of this temporary world into eternity.

Before we all return to eternity, however, we will have the opportunity to prepare and purify our minds in a world that civilization cannot touch, a world in which fear of change does not disturb the happiness and love we feel for each other, a world in which the spirits, temporarily using bodies, interact with each other in freedom and harmony.

Exiles in Babylon – Revised

Three exiled Jews refused to obey the King of Babylon and bow down to his golden image. This poem is an interpretation of part of the book of Daniel, in the Bible.

In the land of Judah, Jehoiakim reigned.
But, in his third year as king, he was chained
By Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon’s king,
Who did besiege him, and who did bring
Him and many of his nobles and clan
Back home to Babylon by caravan.

From these exiles of Judah were selected
Some young men with no defects detected.
These three men, who were both handsome and wise,
Were chosen to serve the king and to advise.
So they were the Chaldean language taught,
And they learned everything the locals thought
They were also given names that were faux:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

King Nebuchadnezzar built on a plain
A tall image of gold, and did ordain
That, whenever any person should hear
Diverse kinds of music being played near,
He must quickly worship and bow down low
And devotion to the gold image show.
But any who did not heed this decree,
Who did not with the king’s order agree,
Must be thrown in a furnace of fire,
Where he would surely suffer and expire.

So when all of the instruments were played,
The people ceased their work and they obeyed.
They bowed down low to the image of gold
That rose up from the plain, as they were told.
However, some of the locals saw three
Who would not obey the king’s strict decree.
And these spies did quickly take the report
To the king, and to his council and court.
And the king’s face became so distorted
With rage at the thing the men reported
That he said with anger to the three Jews,
“What is this most unbelievable news?
Is it really true that you don’t revere
My gods and idols, and don’t even fear
The great fire that I have just prepared
For those who try to do what you have dared?
If you decide now that you will obey
My order and bow down, when the flutes play,
To the image of gold there on the plain,
Then you will not feel any cold, hard chain
And you will not feel the furnace’s heat
Or burn like a piece of scorched human meat.
What god that is worshiped in any land
Can free you from my mighty iron hand?”

And the three from Judah replied to him,
“We do not need to answer your threats grim.
Our God is able to deliver us
From the fire with which you threaten us.
But even if our God does not prevent
The fire from burning, we won’t consent
To serve your gods or to worship the gold
On yonder plain that we all now behold.”

Then the king was overcome by fierce wrath,
And he prepared the furnace fire bath
And the furnace was heated to a grade
Seven times hotter than it normally stayed.
The king also commanded his strong men
To tie up the three in their clothes, and then
To throw them into the furnace of heat
And then to flee and beat a quick retreat.
However, all of the king’s men were slain
By the heat as it burst the fire main.

And the king viewed the fire from a distance
To watch the three men lose their existence.
However, the king was amazed to see,
When he looked, that he no longer saw three.
Instead, he saw four men walking around
Inside the furnace, and even unbound.
The king did to his officials proclaim,
“Did we not cast three men into the flame?”
And they answered the king, “Yes, we did so.”
“Look, I now see four men who freely go
About the hot furnace without burning,
And a son of the gods I am discerning.”

Then the king went up to the furnace door
And to the three he did loudly implore,
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, come out!
You servants of the Most High God, come out!”
And the three came out of the burning blaze,
And the king and council they did amaze,
For they saw that the furnace of fire
Had not harmed their flesh, hair, or attire.
Neither did the strong odor of the smoke
The clothing or hair of the three men soak.

Then the amazed Nebuchadnezzar said,
“Blessed be your God, your Protector, your Head!
For He sent His mighty angel and saved
All three of you men, who willingly braved
The fire, and defied my stern command.
You risked your flesh and lives, and took your stand.
You didn’t worship any other power,
But served only your own God at that hour.
Now I know that no other god can aid
As yours quickly did when you stood unswayed!”

Not My Beast

Many people turn against politicians, point their fingers at them, and blame them for all of their problems. However, this world was made to be opposite to heaven and to oppose God’s will, and as long as the world is valued as a way to be separate from God and different from heaven, there will be no end to problems.

We can use this world to learn what we want to learn. We can learn that God is our friend or that he is our enemy, that God should be loved or that he should be feared. If we believe that God should be feared, we will put our faith in something besides God. Some people believe in only themselves, but others feel the need to believe in and belong to something that is greater than themselves. But if we join a group that includes less than everyone, we deny God’s oneness, inclusiveness, and love. A group that includes some and excludes others is a group that I will call the Beast in this essay. The Beast is different from God in the following ways:

1) The Beast includes some in the group and excludes everyone else. God includes everyone in his love and acceptance.
2) The Beast says that the insiders are better than the outsiders. God weeps for those who are temporarily lost outside in their isolation.
3) The Beast uses fear to control people. God uses love to unite all of creation.
4) The Beast uses hatred and suspicion to divide people. God uses forgiveness to reconcile people.
5) The Beast rewards loyalty with money, gifts, and short-lived fame. God gives everything of worth to all of his children.
6) The Beast claims that the insiders are superior and special. God knows that all of his children have special abilities, but when everyone has returned to heaven, everyone will possess all abilities.
7) The Beast uses secrecy to maintain power. God promotes true communication as a way to restore minds to sanity and love.
8) The Beast speaks with dark and contradictory words to divide and confuse. God communicates with one will and one voice to all who will listen.
9) The Beast claims that physical things, such as bodies and money, are the most important things. God knows that only the eternal is real and that the body is only a temporary learning device.

No one can serve two masters. We can choose to serve God or the Beast, but we cannot serve both at the same time.

Those who feel the need to belong to something greater than themselves will not be satisfied until they join God’s complete creation. This might require giving up the body and this world, but these two things have no value in themselves. They merely exist to help us learn to give up their empty gifts and accept the joy of knowing that we are not alone, that we are part of God’s universal brotherhood.

The Choice

This poem was initially titled “A Few Cans Of Food And Some Bottles Of Water.” I have revised and improved it.

Some cans of food and some jugs of water;
You’ve got a gun and a garden out back;
A way to save your wife, son, and daughter,
In your wilderness one-room lean-to shack.

Dark clouds above have warned you of doom;
Hidden in some place is your ammo stash;
You sit anxiously in your single room,
As you wait for the coming thunder crash.

How did you arrive at this desperate place?
You’re with your family but you’re alone;
You quit your job and the city rat race,
And settled in this place to be unknown.

Many other men have followed your lead,
Although they may still live in the cities;
They desire their families to feed,
And they have formed survival committees.

But above the fear and desperation,
A voice cries out and calls for attention:
“When the world has come to desolation,
What will happen to your life extension?

“You know that all people finally die;
Shouldn’t you prep for death rather than life?
Eternity is what the wise ones spy;
You can’t save yourself, let alone your wife.

“Your mind is what will shortly be revealed
When you leave behind your flesh and the earth;
Have you attacked people or have you healed?
What is your actual value and worth?

“Don’t be distracted by trying to save
The few belongings that you now cherish;
Don’t worry about them or be their slave,
For your possessions will all soon perish.

“But if you learn to love your hated foes,
Your heart will expand and even grow warm;
Love will follow your soul wherever it goes,
And serenity will be your new norm.

“Look at all of those rusting cans of food;
Can you tell me what they represented?
I want to tell you without sounding rude,
But those cans are what your fear invented.

“Release your fear, and share your inner wealth;
Don’t be so selfish and ego-centered;
Giving ensures people’s wholeness and health,
When your love has your neighbor’s heart entered.

“This is the choice that you all have to make:
You can die with feelings of fear and pain,
Or you can allow your heart to awake,
And leave this world with eternal gain.”

Be Not Misled – Revised

This poem is based on Matthew (chapter 24) from the Bible. It tells about the end of the age and Christ’s return.

As Jesus was leaving the temple that day
His disciples came to show without delay
The grandeur of the temple and its stones
And all of the various rooms and zones
And he said to them with a solemn frown
“This temple and its stones will be torn down”

And as he was sitting on Olive’s Mount
Jesus’ disciples asked him to recount
The signs that would precede the age’s end
So that they would all know and comprehend
So they would be prepared for his coming
And anticipate what was forthcoming
Jesus answered and said, “Be not misled
Don’t follow the false Christs or lose your head
For many will follow after those snakes
And they will not know that they are all fakes
When you hear about wars, don’t be afraid
It is not yet the end; don’t be dismayed
Famines and earthquakes will come and afflict
While nations will with each other conflict
The world will be wracked by stresses and strains
But these are only the start of birth pains

“Then they will strike you with tribulations
And you will be hated by all of the nations
And many will depart, hate, and betray
And they will kill some who my words obey
False prophets will their deceptions unfold
While people’s love will grow icy and cold
But he who endures, and has these things braved
Will last to the end, and he will be saved
Once this gospel of the kingdom is preached
To all the nations, and earth’s limits reached
Then the present wicked age will have passed
And the great tribulation will come fast

“The abomination of desolation
Will appear in the holy location
And the people must escape to the hills
And not tarry to return for their bills
The people must not return for their cloaks
The pregnant and nursing, distress provokes
There will be tribulation that is greater
Than all former, and all that will come later
Those days will be shortened for the elected
So that some life on earth will be protected
For if those dark days had not been reduced
Complete destruction would have been produced

“If someone says, ‘Here is the Chosen One’
Do not pay attention, or after him run
For many false Christs and prophets will arise
And they will put many signs before your eyes
I have told you these things in advance, so
Do not after their signs and wonders go
If they say, ‘He is in the desert place’
Don’t start to follow, or after them race
If they say, ‘He’s in the inner room’
You must not their honesty assume
For the Son will come like a lightning flash
That fills the sky before the thunder crash
When the corpse is seen lying on the ground
There the vultures will all gather around

“But before the trouble of those grim days
The sun will be covered with a dark haze
The moon will not offer its steady rays
And the falling stars will watchers amaze
Then the powers of heaven in the sky
Will all fall down, and they will cease to fly

“When the sign of the Son of Man appears
The people will look at the sky with tears
For on clouds the Son of Man will draw near
And with his power and glory appear
His angels will blow their trumpets on high
To gather his elect and bring them nigh

“Learn the parable of the fig tree’s leaves
Which bud when the plant summertime perceives
This generation will not pass away
Until they have seen these things on that day
Heaven and earth will fade from people’s sight
But my faithful words will never take flight
Only the Father knows the time of the end
The angels and the Son do not comprehend

“But before the Son of Man appears on earth
People will be eating and drinking with mirth
They will be marrying, as in Noah’s day
When the flood came and took them all away
The people were not prepared, and did not know
Until it rained, and they saw the water flow
Two men will be in a field of grain
One will be taken, and one will remain
Two women will be at the mill one day
One will be taken, and one will stay

“If the head of the house knew the time of night
That the thief would come, he would put on the light
In the same way, you should keep your steadiness
Stay alert and watch for him with readiness
For the Son of Man will begin his descent
When people are not expecting the event

“Who is the slave—alert, faithful, and wise
Upon whom his master always relies?
This slave gives to the household their food
At the right time, and is therefore shrewd
Blessed is the slave who is not found shirking
His master will come and see him working
The master will put him in charge of all
That is within his rooms, closets, and hall
But if the clever slave says in his mind
‘My master will not return here and find
That I’m lazy, drunk, and out of my place
He will not return soon, in any case’
Then the master will return and see him
And cut down the hypocrite, limb from limb
In that place, everyone will writhe and swear
As they gnash their teeth and tear their hair”

Can These Pages Live?

This poem was inspired by some verses from the Bible.

He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
(Ezekiel 37:3 NASB)

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
(2 Corinthians 3:5-6 NASB)

For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
Broken cisterns
That can hold no water.
(Jeremiah 2:13 NASB)

When I consider all of the book racks
And all of the old, dusty paper stacks
I think about the trees that had to drop
So we could fill each office and bookshop
With all the thoughts that men have ever had
Where, side by side, converse the good and the bad
And all the thoughts that were half-baked and cheap
Are these the thoughts we need to hold and to keep?
Do we believe that inspirations end?
That we should keep every notion penned?
Do we believe that the past must prevail?
Must we preserve the thoughts that are now stale?
Here is the question that we should address:
Can we ever move forward and make progress
If we retrace the former steps and road?
Or does that stop the spring where genius flowed?
Can pages live if there’s no spirit there?
With life and genius, what can compare?
Where do our good notions come from now?
Can we ensure our lives will last, and how?
If we can learn from the past, we should learn
That there is wisdom that we can’t hoard or earn
It comes when we need it, and learn to hear
For spirit loves to help and to make it clear
If we have faith in life’s renewal
We can turn our books into fuel
(For the body and not for the mind)
And when we have tossed the old, we’ll find
That spirit will return and make us new
And all things will sparkle in our view
And all things around that live will be
As free from the past as we are free

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