Tag Archives: Poetry

Don’t Quit

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When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

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One Day at a Time

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One day at a time, with its failure and fears,
With its hurts and mistakes, with its weakness and tears,
With its portion of pain and its burden of care;
One day at a time we must meet and must bear.
One day at a time to be patient and strong;
To be calm under trial and sweet under wrong;
Then its toiling shall pass and its sorrow shall cease;
It shall darken and die, and the night shall bring peace.
One day at a time—but the day is so long,
And the heart is not brave, and the soul is not strong,
O thou pitying Christ, be Thou near all the way;
Give courage and patience and strength for the day.
Swift cometh His answer, so clear and so sweet:
“Yea, I will be with thee, thy troubles to meet;
I will not forget thee, nor fail thee, nor grieve,
I will not forsake thee; I never will leave.”
Not yesterday’s load we are called on to bear,
Nor the morrow’s uncertain and shadowy care,
Why should we look forward or back with dismay?
Our needs, as our mercies, are but for the day.
One day at a time, and the day is His day;
He hath numbered its hours, though they haste or delay.
His grace is sufficient; we walk not alone;
As the day, so the strength that He giveth His own.

 

Who Am I?

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Who am I? They often tell me
I would step from my cell’s confinement
calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a squire from his country-house.

Who am I? They often tell me
I would talk to my warders
freely and friendly and clearly,
as though it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me
I would bear the days of misfortune
equably, smilingly, proudly,
Like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really all that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I know of myself,
restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat,
hungry for colours, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
thirsty for words of kindness, for neighbourliness,
trembling with anger at despotisms and pretty humiliation,
caught up in expectation of great events,
powerlessly grieving for friends at an infinite distance,
weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
faint, and ready to lay farewell to it all?

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today, and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
and before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, thou knowest, O God, I am thine.

—-
Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his cell in Berlin as the last days of his life and the last days of World War II ran out together.
As quoted in The Call by Os Guinness, p25.

Who Will I Be?

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“Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me.
And what you want to give me is love,
unconditional, everlasting love.
Amen.”

IF

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If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
~
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;
~
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
~
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!
 
~Rudyard Kipling

Defeated

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Help me, God
To realize it is in being crippled that I learn to cling,
and in limping that I learn to lean,
that victory comes not in how courageously I struggle,
but in how completely I surrender,
and that this is how I am to grow,
by being defeated,
decisively,
by constantly greater things.
Help me to understand that
Your power is perfected in weakness,
so that when I am rendered weak,
You are given the opportunity to be shown strong.
Help me to understand, too,
that “more things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of,
for so the whole round earth is every way
bound in gold chains about the feet of God…”
 
 (Ken Gire)

The Patchwork Quilt

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I wrote this poem after my son and I read a book in homeschool about a community of women who made a coat for a little girl who had none out of scraps of material from other clothing. When the schoolchildren teased the girl about her patchwork coat, she told them it was a coat of stories–because each scrap had a story behind it. After we read the story, I pondered the pieces of my life and the stories they told.

The Adventurer

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I loosely based this poem on The Hobbit by J.J.R. Tolkien, which I love. I have always seen myself as a Hobbit–someone who liked security, peace, and no surprises or adventures. I’ve felt God is like Gandalf, dragging me out of my nice, safe, comfortable life into a life of danger and risk. At first, I protested but the adventure changed me, and eventually I realized that I had grown to enjoy the life He dragged me into.

The Well of the God Who Sees Me

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This poem is based on the story of Hagar in Genesis 16 and Psalms 139. After Hagar encountered God in the desert,

She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi [The Well of the God Who Sees Me]. (Genesis 16:13-14)

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