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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Before this poem would work, I had to change both the rhyme scheme and the meter. I’ve been working on it all day, off and on (on my day off), and here it finally is, at day’s end. The rhyme scheme is my own as far as my limited knowledge goes), chiastic: A-B-C-B-C-B-A; the meter, the old standard iambic pentameter.

THE LIVING WORD OF GOD
by J. Randal Matheny © 2011

God spoke for light and showed his narrow way;
The Spirit’s prophets wrote the Testament pair,
For sin’s restraint, to set the bound man free.
The living word of God has power to spare,
To raise the dead or judge the Pharisee:
The cutting sword lays heart and marrow bare,
The Book will judge us in the final day.

So I said it works, at least, it does for me. Maybe you don’t think so? Chime in below, share it around.

These poems and other goodies are still going to the UPLift email list.

You’ll note an allusion to Genesis 1:3, to creation, in the first line; to 2 Peter 1:20-21 in the second; to Hebrews 4:12 in the third and fifth; to John 12:48 in the last.

WHAT HURTS US MOST
by J. Randal Matheny © 2011

What hurts us most we do not tell.
Instead, we bury it deep and well,
Where none can touch to cause us pain.
We would not feel this hurt again.

The soul is but a bundle of hurt;
He smiles but wears a hairy shirt.
This heavy burden, this hidden weight,
He sees as his predestined fate.

No one must know, or so he thinks;
He guards his pain like the stoic Sphinx,
While all the time he must ignore
That God has seen it all before.

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.

This Cloudburst poem draws directly from the NRSV rendering of Psalm 105:16-22, about one of the major Bible characters in the book of Genesis. I was reading this psalm the other day in that version, a bit unusual for me, but the poem began to fall in place as I felt a rhythm in the reading.

Here’s the first of three stanzas: Continue reading