UNDER THE BED
By J. Randal Matheny

Under the bed lie secrets unfit for print;
Behind the couch hides more than coins and lint.
In dresser drawers are tucked and folded hates?
Do closets hang with clothes of reprobates?
Let every home sweep clean its dirty floors,
And neighbors ignore when cursed behind closed doors.
A man has plenty to do in his own backyard:
With others’ ills why make your life unduly hard?

The first four lines set up the last four. The fifth echoes the cliche about a family washing its own dirty laundry. The sixth line takes a cue from Eccl. 7:21: “Also, do not pay attention to everything that people say; otherwise, you might even hear your servant cursing you” (NET).

The poem doesn’t deny that we’re our brother’s keeper, that we should encourage and admonish one another. It does tell us to mind our own business as we should, not be busybodies who interfere in other people’s affairs. Some like to run other people’s lives. It’s probably those who’ll object to the poem.

This poem expresses the second half of the equation about helping others and caring for self in the first part of Galatians 6, “for each one should carry his own load” (v. 5, NIV).

Oh, and the last line has an extra foot, an extra brick in the backpack for he who mettles in others’ lives.

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