what will your verse be?

My brother and I have probably watched Mrs. Doubtfire over a hundred times. We had a VHS copy of the movie and would always pop it in and enjoy Robin Williams as he entertained us. His name was synonymous with comedy, and he brought an electric energy to the screen, whether it was in the flesh as in Jumanji, Hook, and Good Will Hunting, or as an animated Genie in Aladdin.

One of the movies that impacted me most in high school was Dead Poet’s Society. It revealed how a teacher could inspire students, and reminded me how poetry and literature aren’t empirical categories, but the natural and necessary result of being human. That “words and ideas can change the world!”

And it left me with the question, “What will your verse be?”

 

Rest in Peace, Mr. Williams. O Captain! My Captain! Your legacy lives on.

roll away your stone

In a black and white world, most of us live in the gray. In a black and white world, music and poetry explore the gray.

Much has been said and written about the themes of religion and faith woven into the lyrics of the band Mumford and Sons, but much has also been debated about where their faith stands. I don’t want to argue about whether they’re Christian or not, but their lyrics are some of the most thought-provoking ones out there.

“You told me that I would find a hole

Within the fragile substance of my soul

And I have filled this void with things unreal

And all the while my character it steals”

There are echoes of Ecclesiastes where the Preacher writes that God has set eternity in our hearts, but perhaps more so, the famous words of Blaise Pascal when he wrote, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ.” We try to fill the deep longings and desires of our hearts with everything we can find, thinking surely something will satisfy and fill the hole, but it’s like throwing fistfuls of sand into the Grand Canyon. You will never fill the hole. But worse, the things we try to fill the hole with actually do us more harm than good —  it steals our character.

Darkness may be a harsh term, and it may have dominated the things I’ve seen. But the grace that changed my heart with the welcome I received at the restart ensures I don’t stay in darkness.

Leben Lane

there is a house that sits on the end of Leben Lane
a triple-tiered behemoth atop the hill on Leben Lane
long lay the house in ruin and decay
empty and forlorn for not a one would stay
the sacred cannot be found on this part of the lane
but the unholy traverse, celebrating the profane

careful, my dear
careful, my dear
you mustn’t get too near

where specters sing unholy songs and witches dine with priests
where angels and devils join for tea and saints and sinners have feasts
through It’s broken eyes you can see them dance
floating and gliding in a languid trance
goblins and ghouls singing heinous hymns outright;
a million voices ringing through the house, echoing through the night

careful, my dear
careful, my dear
you mustn’t get too near

there is a house that sits on the end of Leben Lane
a temple where prayers and crying never wane
and in the witching way of things sublime
the house on Leben transcends space and time
jerking souls to seek penance for sins unwanted
baby, its more than houses that are haunted

careful, my dear
careful, my dear
you mustn’t get too near

there Love defined

Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko said, “A poet’s autobiography is his poetry. Anything else is just a footnote.”

there Love defined

 

a curious day ’twas today
that found desire and drive allayed!
the earth lay washed in amber tones,
the air hung thick, heavy with storm
and as men oft do in such times
i gazed into the cloudy sky
to calculate the mystery
of life, death, and eternity
and as i mused the mystery
i saw an angel by the tree
“why do you look for answers here?
seek Love,” he said, and disappeared

 

set out, did i, to find such Love,
yet tales and myth were not enough
as dross, i flung what i had found,
resolved that Love was not around
i scoffed the fable men did trust
while bastioned doubt became my trust.
fierce nimbus bore above my walls
and rain so sinister did fall;
high did the water rise before
i found my circumstances poor;
so feebly struggled i against
the overwhelming current spent

 

then certain of my wretched fate,
i ceased, to let death have its way,
when through the murky waters cut
a hand that reached beyond my heart
into a place unknown and cold,
lifted me up beyond the flood.
and suddenly i found there land
there bathed in warm and piercing sun
where touched the hand, there burned a flame
so searing and beyond known pain
yet pleasant was it all the while,
and coursing joy replaced the vile

 

a wondrous sight my eyes beheld
a sight too beautiful to tell
a peace unknown o’ertook my mind
for there it was, there Love defined

Dreams of Yesterday

yesterday i soared through clouds of cotton
a chariot of wind beneath my feet
a symbol was i to raise hope in men
cowering behind an impenetrable sheet

yesterday i dreamt the world a stage grand
upon which i played the grandest of roles
i took a bow and drank the world’s applause
safely behind my persona’s eye holes

yesterday brought an angel to my room
sweetly smiling and sitting on the floor
i asked her, “why so far from heaven’s throne?”
“to chase what i can no longer ignore”

yesterday a thief broke into my dream
and reached into the inner parts of me
grabbed what he found, threw it in the air
secrets laid bare for all the world to see

yesterday the end of the world came by
knocking on my door, and asked for a hand
“not today,” said i, “its not a good day”
and the lad went on to ravage the land

yesterday found a bartender in my dream
i asked for a drink, one to remember
he asked, “what about one to forget?”
slid me one that knocked me till december

yesterday deception kissed me on the mouth
and took me to her bed of craft and guile
she said, “baby, I make the world go ‘round”
and then swallowed me, laughing all the while

today the glass was empty; the mask fell
and the lad thrust a green spear into my skin
the thief discovered hidden deception
and the angel went back to what she had been