When the Evening Comes (Rondine)

Poem-a-Day Challenge #26: Evening Poem

When the evening comes and the light fades,
the heart’s curtains are drawn; its candle dims.
A heavy cloak draws around wounded limbs;
dew beads on the ground, watering the shades
that emerge like weeds that come out to play
when the evening comes.

No dressing or salve applied in the light
of day to ward from fever’s red-flushed heat
means a festering aching will deplete
the health and clarity of solar flight
when the evening comes.



What is a Rondine?

The Publican Pharisee (Shakespearean Sonnet)

This poem is inspired by this post.

Lord, I thank You that You are not like me,
For I am full of greed and lust and hate;
But You, a fountain flowing with mercy,
A wealth of love for sinners in dire straits.
Every penitent You will welcome,
Even the publican beating his breast;
You need no tithes of spices and income,
On a thousand hills your cattle find rest.
You prefer mercy over vanity;
You find delight in helpless, humble faith.
I am not worthy to even be seen,
And yet to me––me!––You lift up Your face.
I take no comfort but in Your esteem,
In You I find love for eternity.


Heavy (Pleiades)

Hunch-backed by your iniquity is the only way you bow–
Hell-bent to stagger ahead, alone and stupid.
Herders have more success taming beasts;
Heads of cattle respond faster and more reliably.
How long will you continue to be stubborn?
Help is ready and willing–I, Yahweh your God am reading and willing–
Heave your burden upon Me, and I will give you rest.


The Psalmist and the Black Knight (Duodora)

” ‘Tis but a scratch!”
I name a severed limb
Like the infamous
Knight who opposed King
Arthur at the bridge.
Unlike the poet-king David who reeled,
Crushed beneath the weight of his once-dear sin.

” ‘Tis but a scratch!”
I would never say of
The wounds of my Lord,
And yet affirm that
Very thing in my
Utter absence of tears and lack of grief.
Spirit-Steel alone breaks the stone within.


Return to Me

Return to Me
Zechariah 1:1-6

When we walked in our own ways
Your anger burned against our sin
We ignored Your holy word
And closed our hearts time and again

“Return to Me,” You would say;
“Return to Me, I’ll make you new;
Return to Me,” You would say,
“And I will return to you.”

Now in You we’re born again
And through Your Son we can draw near
But we still stumble and fall
And our weak hearts rejoice to hear

“Return to Me,” You still say;
“Return to Me, I’ve made you new;
Return to Me,” You would say,
“My Spirit lives in you.”

Continue reading “Return to Me”

The Pharisee’s Prayer, Revised

The Pharisee was standing and praying like this about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like other people  — greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner! ’ (Luke 18:11-13 CSB)

Jesus tells a parable in Matthew 20 about a landowner hiring workers to tend his vineyard. Some start in the morning, some work a half-day, and some work only a couple of hours or so. All the workers are paid the same day’s wage, regardless when they started. The full-day workers are indignant at this, and the landowner responds with a haunting question: “Are you jealous because I’m generous?” I am thankful for the times when I am struck by how much like the full-day workers I am (“let the righteous one strike me, it is an act of faithful love,” Psalm 141:5). The Holy Spirit shows me in these times how unlike Him I am, and I am always thankful. We sinners make terrible, terrifying gods; He alone is God and He alone is good.

The discomfort of being like some and unlike others reminded me of the tax collector’s prayer in Luke 18. There, Jesus contrasts the arrogant self-assuredness of the unjustified Pharisee with the humble, penitent contrition of the justified publican. What if the Pharisee prayed righteously, as Jesus would have him? What would that sound like?

The Pharisee closed the door in his house and fell on his face, praying like this:

“God, I thank You that You’re not like me––greedy, unrighteous, lustful, and especially not hateful and arrogant like the deep, crimson stains of my hypocritical heart. I thank You that You give grace to all––even to that tax collector over there.

“You don’t need my fasts or tithes; You own the cattle on the thousand hills, so I can’t pretend to give something to You as though You would owe me. You desire mercy, not the empty, heartless ritual of man-pleasing religion.

“I couldn’t help but see the tears of that tax collector and overhear his prayer to You. I can’t think of a better way to come to You. I am such a sinner––much worse than anyone I know! I know I don’t deserve it, but please show me mercy!”