A Pernicious Gravity

What force is this that holds me to my sin?

What hidden power draws me down?

It is invisible, malevolent and constant;

it doesn’t sleep.

We who are given to trudge this earth,

are mired, and filled by this same stuff,

which caught our fathers in its grip,

and caused the first one poisoned by its sweetness,

to fall from his lofty heights—

I am as likely to free myself from its grasp,

as I might bend over, unclasp my feet from the ground,

rise up from the earth, and float into the clouds—

Few things might humble me so deeply,

as the recognition of how ineffective I am,

at resisting my own pride—

It is a pernicious gravity.

But for the fact that you do not see me as I am,

but only imagine me to be as I should be;

because I have been taught and learned to wear,

false clothing which hides this shame—

Were it not for this, my humiliation would be fulfilled,

you would see and then, perhaps, I would have hope,

cast as well into the earth and made to eat dust,

no longer able to pretend, but exposed,

and finally, with no means to hide, no choice but to repent—

then, possibly, freed from this pernicious gravity.

And were a greater one than I to come,

with power greater than this body of sin,

with force and grace exceeding this body’s gravity—

then my soul and spirit could take flight,

by force of love this pride would be thrown off,

and I would be revealed in likeness to my maker—

as I was made to be;

no longer bound by a pernicious gravity.

 

~FS

Salt Marsh at First Light

Several ducks huddling,

paddling,

upon the shallow water.

 

Mudflats encroaching,

and rivulets flowing,

the sea is receding now.

 

Platoons of cats lining its margins,

crouching,

hiding within the reeds;

 

(their presence,

betrayed,

by their tails held high).

 

Will they pounce?

 

And send the ducks flying,

up,

into the glowing sky—

 

early morning sunlight,

reflecting,

from their white undersides.

 

The cats watching raptly, joyously;

their tails swishing briskly,

in the breeze.

 

~FS

A Hopeful Servant’s Prayer

Dear Lord—

 

Teach me to love You with all my heart, all my mind, all my soul and all my strength.

Teach me to love my neighbor more than I love myself.

Teach me to love my wife as I love my own body.

And teach me to take up my cross and follow You.

 

Cleanse me Lord of all self-love—

 

Cleanse my heart of all self-love,

cleanse my mind of all self-love,

cleanse my soul of all self-love,

and cleanse my body of all self-love.

 

Free me from all that binds me so that I may love You, Lord, with all my heart, all my mind, all my soul and all my strength—

 

Focus my heart in love for You, Lord.

Focus my mind in love for You,

focus my soul in love for You,

and focus my body in love for You.

 

Enable me to love my neighbor more than I love myself,

enable me to love my wife as I love my own body,

and enable me to take up my cross and follow You.

 

So fill my will with desire to do only Your will,

that I am only able to love You with all my heart,

all my mind, all my soul and all my strength.

 

So I am unable to love my neighbor less than I love myself,

so I am unable to love my wife less than I love my own body—

because You have taught me, cleansed me, freed me and focused me upon Your cross;

 

and by my cross, transform me into a good and faithful servant whom You love.

 

~FS

Great Pearl of the Desert

There is a desert which stretches out before me, within my heart.

It is a quiet place. Still and lonely, and vibrant—

ablaze with light.

 

I have not trod here.

 

It calls to me in silent, unspoken words—

with breath my spirit understands.

And I know that I must step into this landscape,

leaving the world behind.

 

But there is a jungle teeming with life, within my mind.

Populated, unholy, with every kind of thing—

a busy place.

 

This is where I live.

 

I am wrapped here in familiar essences—

comfortable and hypnotizing.

I am held by my loves too strong,

and misdirected.

 

Arise! Oh my soul, and gather yourself within me.

Make haste to embark upon this journey.

The wilderness is waiting, do not linger over your meal—

this bread of sorrows.

 

The enemy may pursue but will not overtake you,

trample them in the dust of this arid land.

And there will be a fiery sun to burn the demons of noonday,

and a silvery moon to enlighten your steps at night.

 

Tears of repentance shall be your guide,

and love of God will quicken your steps.

Here arises a great pearl, wrought within a heart given to God,

made pure by tears,

and polished in the crucible of worldly sacrifice.

 

There is a great Pearl of the Desert, awaiting in our hearts.

The Kingdom of our Lord and Savior,

found through His sufferings and sorrows—

 

Dawning gloriously with bright tomorrows.

 

~FS

The Eyes of Winter

How I loved to look at Fall,

through spring’s eyes.

The slant of golden light,

hinting at fading life;

a novelty,

to one as young as I.

 

Now in the fall of life,

Fall’s rich melancholies,

muted and ephemeral;

beauty nearly too much to bear,

for one as I,

passing through his middle years.

 

While in the flush of Summer,

all life abounding;

affords one little time for,

life’s reflecting.

And winter’s chill still so far off,

hardly feels impending.

 

So when the Winter sneaks upon us,

bringing its wintry pallor;

After Spring, Fall and Summer’s joys,

With winter’s eyes we follow,

the tracks of those who’ve gone before us,

into the vast and bright tomorrow.

 

~FS

Seasons

Ah, how the seasons roll on by,

with time and life in tow.

Oh, they bring changes and a sigh;

surprise from head to toe.

 

Spring arrives declaring new growth,

the lawn needs re-seeding.

Youth passes defying my oaths,

my hair is receding.

 

Summer’s wildly warm and buoyant,

leaves are bright in the trees.

Aging’s calling for more ointment,

I’ve a pain in my knees.

 

Fall brings a crisp chill to the air,

vibrant colors delight.

There’s a new baldness in my hair,

what’s happened to my sight?

 

Winter’s stillness is so calming,

the snow is getting deep.

Though not ready for embalming,

I’d like a good night’s sleep.

 

~FS

And The Two Shall Become One

We’ve been advised,

not to be unequally yoked,

unequally wed.

 

Yet surely this

admonishment,

isn’t meant,

for us, our computers,

and entertainment—

 

Where’s the harm,

and where are the vices,

in being married to our devices?

What’s the problem,

and what are the sins,

in mating with new algorithms?

 

Mixing silicon

into our genetic ocean.

Certainly sounds

like a crazy notion.

Yet man’s progress and ambition,

casts off every inhibition.

So we will inevitably see;

(or already see)

this wedding of the century—

 

We promise to have,

and to hold them,

wherever we go;

in sickness,

and in health,

forever by our side;

to love,

and cherish,

all that they provide;

and never give our eyes,

to another.

 

They promise to mold,

and to shape us,

from cradle to the grave;

to conform us,

to data and to speed,

and always to keep us;

preoccupied.

To teach our eyes,

to scan each page,

and to live our days,

in this same way;

to keep us always at the surface,

scattered, and safe,

from any depth.

 

Now all can view whole worlds,

through a variety of screens;

yet few possess discernment,

to know what any of it means.

 

A very modern matrimony,

between man and his technology.

The object of man’s devotion,

rules his mind and his emotion.

Leading man into a spiritless union,

and the two shall become one.

 

~FS