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Approaching Hour
When the fickle tick of Time Intensifies, then Im Aware of countless minutes past. And wonder: when the clock Explodes its final tock, Will I look foolish at the last, UnreadyGodlessand aghast? 04-05-81 *

As Always
Cards are dealt, Losses felt In your guts: Sword-like cuts. Dice are thrown And you groan At the toss: One more loss. Beg one more Chance to score; Dealer grins; Satan wins. 07-06-74 * Aspirations Greatnessthe goal of ermined kings, Sainthoodnun and priest, Famethe troubadour who sings, Mankindthe charnel worms who feast. 09-09-86 * Better Than Nothing

Leaves are withering, Fall is here to bring, Early, early chill, Yet you never care If the autumn air Comes to kiss or kill. Springtime, winter, fall: Weather each and all, Treasure Lifes green leaf, Never measure how Long God will allow, Even if so brief. 1980 * Beyond No cause for petty fearing When all your years run out: Eternity is nearing, Soon killing death and doubt. Eternal Life--His giving-Infused from Enfleshed God-Transforming now our living, So travel where He trod. 02-26-1974 * Blaze! Round the Rim of Reason Ring the worshippers of thought, Faith to them is treason, Souls are something sold and bought. One day theyre believing, One day faith returns, Doubters each receiving Light that fires and burns. 06-14-76 * Bliss (2) The kiss of Time corrodes

Bronze Venuses to flaking rust, Times transitoriness erodes Marble aphrodites down to dust. But Loves caress slays Time. Eternities succumb to Loves soft sigh. And nuptial church bells ever chime: Gods clarion echo heard on high. 09-29-88 * Buddhist Monk Unsullied by the world, with conscience free, He sits in contemplation, hour on hour, Of one small point on his anatomy From which he gathers strength and mystic power. Not for him the heros wide acclaim, The soldiers glory, nor the merchants prize; Deaf is he to trumpetings of fame, Blind to the promise in a womans eyes. For him no cleaving to ephemeral things No ties to trap his feet in tangled ways That snare the steps of diplomats and kings No fear of blame, and no desire for praise. Supremely blessed, the holy Lama sits, Heedless of bombs that blast the world to bits. 1974 * Calvary Stand against them all: Shoulders on the wall, Blindfold blotting out Enemies, and doubt. Later, after they Kill you for their pay, Themselves about to die Help them, dont ask why. 1972 * Canonization

St. Jeanne of Arc carols in the pyre, Sainted for her final song. Her martyred voice, a human lyre, Her ashes, immemorially strong. 04-09-86 * Cartographic-Typographic Note The place known as hell should be capitalized, So print it as Hell if you please. A particular place to where we tumbled from grace Noosed, as we dance in the breeze. 02-12-82 * Christmas Symbols November casts its leaves and days away. The calendars last, best, page remains December. And our losses and our gains Are summed across a sky of frigid grey (Forgiving sins from some far August day), Our slate scrubbed clear. The month now wanes; And yet behind Decembers sleeted panes There crackles warmth: an ancient mystery play. Its symbols are the holly and the scented pine. Humility, not vanity, at end-of-year, And peace to our trespassers and our friends. The English mistletoethe gift of yours and mine And carols that poor sinners, like ourselves, most hear Then, manger-ward, a band of seers wends. 1982 * Court Room You stand before Judgment of the Pit, On marbled floor, No place to sit, And no time more: You have squandered it. The scribe has scrawled Curses on the scroll,

The priest has called Doom upon your soul, The demons crawled Out of his worm hole. 04-27-75 * Covert Cathedral Your mental windows fashioned from Panes of glinting bright stained glass, And through them streaming sun rays come. Your mind conducts its private Mass. Soft hymns and Sacramental rite, Holy water at the secret fount. Communion hidden out of sight. Inside your heart, an Olive Mount. 1987 * Devout God is dead, but women do not know it Charmingly refuse to show it!... Performing major little acts of love: Little childrenlittle flowers plucked for wearing, Bigger burdens bearinggraceful caring And terrifying doubts, unmindful of. 01-16-82 * Essential Persistence The wisdom of the wind is motion, Wandering ecstatic, yet sublime. The charity of rain is laving lotion, Cleansing residues of urban grime. The genius of the sun is searing passion Violent, erotic rampant fire. But cooling clay and earth we wear in fashion Finally, when our hot hearts expire. Our flesh erodes. Our bones flake too. But souls need neitherborn, anew. 1987 *

Eternal Timber The Cross is our crutch: we are lamed and maimed, Crippling sin in our soul, Defiled and scourged, our faith defamed, Golgotha our gloried goal. The Cross is a bludgeon for smiting down Death in his sable gown. Its Roman-hewn and Jesus-borne, Encircled with blood-flecked thorn. 12-10-86 * Evensong Steeple slashed with shadows Scales the twilit sky, Aspiring like an Angelus. Below, the traffic hurtles by Indifferent to bricks up thrust so high. 1971 * Except, Perhaps, Prayer Curse. Rail. Spit. In short impress your peers With your modernity. Sneer. Scoff. Hit. But naught will save You in eternity. 09-15-82 * Far Place Time is a tunnel of fears, Funneling years Down a spiral of darkening dread Twisting ahead. Somewhere the passage ends, After it bends

Millions of labyrinthine turns: Somewhere Man learns. Somewhere and someplace we find Weve been but blind Burrowing brutes in the devils night, Shunning Christs light. 03-12-76 * Feather on the Sea It wasnt very long ago Tomorrow was my friend, Life was like a river rolling lazy round the bend. Wasting time and then I found that Time was wasting me: Took me and it tossed me like a feather on the sea. Following a fading star I know Ill never find, Like a drunken sailor never looking once behind. Floating like a feather on an ocean full of foam: One more dream-struck drifter whose horizons are his home. Feather on the sea, thats me, without You, Jesus rescue me from the seatake me through. Feather on the sea. You can be my compass with Your wisdom and Your will, Jesus help me travel when I feel Im standing still. You can be my map and help me reach that far off shore: Help me weather every storm no matter whats in store. Till I found You I was on an ocean of despair, Using up my future like it really wasnt there. Facing every wind of fate no matter how it blew: Feather on the sea without a friend till I found You. Feather on the sea, thats me, without You. Jesus rescue me from the seatake me through. Feather on the sea. 1968 (Rev. 7-74, 1986) * Fiscal Advice Coming close means nothing. Ninety-nine per cent

Equates to zero when God tallies Up your lifetimes rent. So always pay completely. Try to be on time, Else Satan will foreclose you, Eking every dime 05-10-92 * Full Circle Fly the flag of fury high On the red-washed sky, Trumpet all your anger loud At the cringing crowd, Empty all your cannon at Them, and they fall flat. Later, realize that you Have to suffer too: Cowardice and death can fall On you after all; Drop your battered, bloody blade, Wishing that youd prayed. 1968 * Golgothan Solace The wooden frame to which youre nailed (Roman penalty) With outspread wrists and spikes impaled Transcends mere agony. Between your brother thief and you Upon His wooden span, Sags a Shape soon raised anew Reprieving faith-filled man. 09-05-95 * High-Wire Walk The tight-rope of salvation

Is a straining, wire-taut strand You inch along on foot-chafed trepidation Defying Satans law of gravitation, Gods balance-pole inside your hand. Below, the audience is cheering, Your equipoise of faith precludes all fearing Your toes assert their knowing, nimble grasp. The platform, once so far, nows nearing. Step upon it! Crowd gives out a gasp Satan curses with a hoarse and rueful rasp. 06-24-86 * How Can I Give Jesus Everything That He Deserves? How can I give Jesus everything that He deserves? How can I repay Him for His time? Three long hours he spent upon the Cross of Calvary That you and I might live eternally. How can I give Jesus everything that He deserves? Gold and silver slip right through my hands. All I have to offer Him is my thanksgiving prayer With Jesus, I am rich beyond compare. He loves me though Im a sinner, And He purchased me with all his blood and pain, And it makes me feel so humble His loss upon the Cross became my gain. How can I give Jesus everything that He deserves? His suffering and tears have washed me clean. Forgiving me for all the evil wickedness Ive done Thank God for giving me His only Son. 1985 * Immortal Bouquet The withered arm of Time has plucked the blooms That crowned the brow of Love and rent the ring Of roses round Loves head. Decay consumes The petals. Powdered grey flecks everything. Thus shorn of blossoms, Loves skull draws Its scalp in wrinkles that retract

And tighten. The first of all Times laws Would seem the last as well: the fatal fact That life means death. Yet death becomes rebirth: Loves phantom sheds its flesh and rides the sky. Below, its skeleton sinks deep in earth, The gnarled old arm of Time grasps high But cannot seize the cloud as it encloses In silken mistgold-ruby roses. 08-06-85 * Its a Dusty Road Its a dusty road, and lifes its name No guarantee of gold or fame, A cloud of dust for your royal gown, And a sweaty brow for your regal crown. Its a dusty road, all men must trod. The Devil waits, but so does God. Theres one companion you must choose Theres wealth to win and a soul to lose. Its a dusty road, but youre not alone, Though your feet are bloody from the ice and stone; The blizzard comes to chill your skin But you travel warm from your faith within. Its a dusty road, and it soon is gone, The rich and poor both travel on. They might bury you in some gravel ditch But if your faith was strong, then your years were rich. Its a dusty road, and its been trekked before, Nineteen hundred years and more A wooden burdenand some Roman whips came down And a ring of thorns for the regal crown. Its a dusty road, soon left behind, A greener valley you will find, A peaceful pasture comes into view And Living Water will cleanse the dust from you. 1984 * Jesus, Dont Come Back Today

Jesus, dont come back today, Ive got too much to do, Jesus, Ill be ready for you In a day or two. I know it sounds a little strange, I need at least a day to change, Ive got some people to repay, So Jesus, dont come back today. Jesus, dont come back today, Ive got too much to do, Jesus, Ill be ready for you In a day or two. I need to change the way I live, Ive got some people to forgive, Im busy learning how to pray, So Jesus, dont come back today 1984. * Light Sink and swallow salt Water from the sea; Drink it up like malt Brew thats sold for free; Think of God whose fault Everything must be. Swim and reach the shore, Start your praying to Him you love once more, Now your night is through. Dim lights brighten for Dawn is born anew. 02-08-74 * Literature We talked importantly as youth must do, Impressing one another with trite quotes,

Discovering false authors who sound true, And humming melancholy ballad notes. Miguel de Unamuno was the man Who wrote for us, The Tragic Sense of Life, That made us weep as only lovers can Who suffer smiling under Times sharp knife. And then The Prophet chafed our wounds and beat Our ragged senses till they sweetly stung And smarted like a masochists rare treat: But what else is a poem when you are young? For I was twenty-one, she seventeen, In love with book-born love: Times blade cut clean. 03-04-75 * Lost Eden A snake upon the Tree Of Knowledge longs to see The husband of the wife Destroy this Tree of Life That grows behind him tall And fruitful, till the Fall From innocence and trust, When Eden dries to dust. 1973 *