Here's the first of five stanzas of a poem I whipped up tonight. Title, "Never Too Late." Then I'll explain why I sent it to the exclusive Cloudburst Syndicated Poetry list.

Today! tonight! this moment! now!
  You can reroute your fate;
To kill the pagan or sacred cow,
  It's never, it's never too late.

I got a notice a bit ago that the list had been inactive for three months, and if I didn't use it over the next month, it would get deleted. So there. ...continue reading

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church mission

by J. Randal Matheny © 2011

No labor's lost when Kingdom work is done,
Ere comes the night, to finish what He'd begun.
What joy to know that naught will come to waste!
Such light gives purpose to a servant's haste.
Though at the end a work of straw be burned,
At judgment day no earnest worker's spurned.
To hands, then, to hands! with faith and zeal,
God's promise give your courage steel.


This poem hearkens back to an olde style, with terms like "ere" and "naught," especially, as well as the the double use of the subjunctive in lines 5 and 8, and the standard pentameter and close rhyme.

The truths keep God's worker at the task, otherwise, what a useless drudgery would be the mission of the Realm.


Elegy for a Departed Missionary

by J. Randal Matheny © 2011

Remembering missionariesThe fallen of God none mourn;
But for a moment's thought
Might some consider and learn
What God in man hath wrought.

Flung abroad and thrown
To save the far domain,
Unheard, unheralded, unknown,
Shone truth in splendor plain.

In years of faith and doubt,
He served the Word with prayer,
With much or little, without,
Or burdened with many a care.

Just as he quietly served,
So too he died, ignored;
To heaven by God removed
To gain his just reward.

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Tears of a soldierby J. Randal Matheny © 2011

The Battle of Unnumbered Tears
Was fiercely fought upon a field,
Where neither side would give or yield,
And neither heard the victors' cheers.

Hard against the Whitened Downs,
Struck man and beast his match and pair;
Horses' hooves cleaved heavy air,
From royal heads fell regal crowns.

The greening slopes were ground and churned,
As armies' met to mete their worst;
Soldiers, downed, on dying cursed,
Ambitions bled and hopes were burned.


The title and first line come from J.R.R. Tolkein's book, The Silmarillion. My poem has nothing to do with his book or the battle mentioned therein. It was suggestive of an idea, which I ran with.

People have their forbidden subjects. Depending on place, person, and epoch, some things can't be talked about. Sex, money, politics, and other topics have been considered taboo at some point. In the church, politics was off limits, but no more it seems. Sex and money are still considered bad topics, or, at least, sensitive, and to be treated with kid gloves.

But the Lord has no such list of forbidden subjects. We can talk to him about anything. Temptations. Sorrows. Struggles. Conflicts.

While we may wish that we could be upfront with people like that, we can be certain that the Lord will not frown or chide us for putting it all before him. That's what he wants. And that's the gist of today's Cloudburst poem.

Once again, Cloudburst poems are available only to the list subscribers. Here's why.

The form is one of my favorites, a seven-line stanza. The rhyme scheme is A-B-C-B-C-B-A.


Where people think that truth is relative, all coordinates are lost on the moral and religious compass. I've been working with a few items lately, around the topics of postmoderism and new age religion. Perhaps those caused this poem to bubble up from the depths. That, and watching some swirling fog seemed to suggest the idea for the poem, "Upon the Fickle Tide."

The rhyme scheme and meter are different from what I usually do, but it seemed to work for me here. Here's the first stanza, the whole poem shared only on the closed email list.

Lost in the formless world of turning mist,
Where none go north and muddied waters twist,
No leading lines exist.

Only subscribers to the Cloudburst Poetry email list get the whole pot of beans. If you want today's poem, let me know below, and I'll email it to you.

And here's a freebie in the same style, but different approach, with no title, but if I had to give it one, would be something like, "Any Ill but Mine." ...continue reading


Flycatcher in Brazil called Bem-te-vi.I was sitting in the padaria, having my usual toast and coffee, in my usual spot next to an open wall, when I heard a strong and clear cry of a bird, "Bem-te-vi, bem-te-vi." I looked up and, on a roof across the street, sat a colorful bird well known here for its plumage and distinctive cry, which gives it its name as well.

It hopped to a couple of different perches, an awning, a high-line wire, before it disappeared, always crying, always warning. But nobody paid it any mind. ...continue reading

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New style for me, that is. No punctuation, which I normally hate. Shorter stanza. Variable meter. Still a rhyme, but not every line. I wrote one in this new style last week, now another, with, "No Foundation."

Are my Cloudburst Poetry list readers confused, mad, stressed, unconcerned, oblivious?

OK, I confess: I've been reading Emily Dickinson.

Oh, you didn't read it? It's because only list members get the Cloudburst works of art. So what are you waiting for? Sign up now, it's free, it's easy, it's smart.

Hypocrites like others to see them doing their religious acts. Solomon, however, was motivated by a different desire: the first prayer at the temple was his, and he wanted to show the people that God must be approached humbly in repentance. He'd thought ahead: he had a bronze platform built so all could hear and see him as he knelt before the Lord in prayer.

Solomon's prayer at the temple dedication, in 1 Chronicles 6, was the text of our reading last Wednesday night. It still rings in my ears, as this sinful man needs daily to humble himself before the Lord. For that, preparation must be made, the bronze platform to show our penitence when the moment of ultimate glory arrives.

The Cloudburst poem, "The Bronze Platform," uses my favorite seven-line structure, with the rhyming scheme A-B-A-B-A-C-C, in iambic pentameter. The seven lines are a favorite, because they allow a full thought without losing the modern's short attention span.

The poem has been sent to the email list, which you may receive through a free subscription. As for the Platform poem already sent to the list, ask in the comments with your email address, and I'll forward it to you.

Had you accompanied us during our trek through nine US states over the past seven weeks, you'd have been impressed with how my wife keeps things (i.e., me) together, and that with good spirits.

So, as we pick Cloudburst Poetry back up, here is a tribute to my wife, enititled, from the first line, "Had I Been Given:"

Had I been given years without end,
To search the globe from east to west;
Were Solomon's treasures mine to spend
To find among women the purest and best;
None, though like Sheba's queen, dressed
In finery and fashion, could compare
To my beloved -- none so fair!

Usually, I don't post Cloudburst material online, but in the resumption of this feature, and as an incentive for you to subscribe to the email list, it's been added here.

And remember: you can reprint only with express permission. Online, just link to the post, please.