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More SoulFood


Prayer Poems

Christian Poems
















Into the River        Print this poem only


About a fortnight ago I cut the chains

thought I’d risen, thought I’d changed

but then I shot me full of shame

filled the black holes with blame

just too many old habits to fight

I need to hold on to the light.


I stepped into the river with you

sunk my head out of view

said here I am Lord here am I

bid my rusty old wagon goodbye

out of my darkness out of my night

I need to hold on to the light.


A little more than two weeks ago

I sparkled and smiled and said hello

out of the water dripping with grace

they said my youth shined in my face

and here I am nigh filled with fright

I need to hold on to the light.


But salvation now seems over priced

where oh where are you Jesus Christ?


Don’t be distracted or confused my son

you are crawling now don’t try to run

keep it simple and you’ll be alright

don’t forget to hold on to the light.


Don’t fall into the mine of fire

make me your heart’s desire

fall into my waiting embrace

ignore ego’s devil face

and when you’re baffled by your plight

remember to hold on to the Light.

Written 9-9-15


Freedom’s Field


Being out in this field of wheat

with its bright amber perspective

all the way to the horizon

breathing in aroma of soil

wind taking my hat into the stalky

feels both free and forfeit.


Having no path or track

or boundaries beside me

is both wondrous and restive.

In this rebellious space

I wish for a hand

someone to coach me

tell me what to do with this liberty.


I tread back to the car

I parked by the highway

but it is not there

my trusted vehicle gone

I know not where.

My thumb in air

needing hoping longing for a ride

but at least there is the highway

sprinkled with sparkle

and passages of counsel and direction

beckoning to an uncertain celestial


Written 5-10-18



I want to become a diver

like the scuba guys in the Thai cave

risking death to save life,

going deeper into convoluted passages

of darkness to pull life from it.


I want to become a heart surgeon

transplanting energizing mitochondria

into babies’ dying hearts

to revive and save damaged cells.

Oh to receive from the gods of creativity

an infusion of fresh energy

into this old body

and renew flagging cells

with a flowering fragrance

as sweet and unique as Plumeria!


May this diving deeper

be as fruitful now as it has been

in the decisive moments

I was able to conquer pride and self

to reach out to others

whose spirits had frowns

whose life energy was down.


I know: thinking, reading and writing

are not quite enough to reach and taste

the fruits of angels.

Like the classic tension

between “faith and works”

“deeper” means a marriage

of information and application

to get transformation.


And so these moments of writing poems

and diving deeper, rising higher

for the creative spirit

are not divorced

from kindness and reaching out

in friendship, intimacy, and love,

from taking time and spending energy

beyond these meditative walls

embracing life where it calls.


I am a diver and a surgeon

a spark striker, a flame keeper

always desiring

to move

deeper, deeper, deeper.

Author’s Note:  The idea for this poem has been lurking within ever since I heard an energetic call from a teacher of mine as he proclaimed it is not enough to go deeper, that we must do good works and serve, move to action, action, action.  I felt guilty because in my old age I am not as active, leading, and responding as much as I have been most of my life.  I had spoken to him and others of my need to “go deeper.”  And his proclamation stung me and sent me into consternation.  In this poem, finally, I have been able to respond.  And it was the heroics of the Thai divers and the surgeons at Boston Children’s Hospital into mitochondria transplantation that brought me out of the darkness of confusion into this light.  If you are interested, see this amazing article about the research and procedures used by these pioneering doctors:


Finally, I thank Marty Collier for the inspiring little poem-like statement: “Information plus application = transformation.”


Written 7-12-18



The hair on the back of my hand

glistens in the lamp at night

it tells me I am a man

I am a creature

a thing created.

I did not create myself

even though I act as if I did.  


You made this body

and you keep it alive.

When I look at my hand

sometimes it reminds me of Jesus

who was also a man.


I yearn to feel his touch

his arms around my shoulders.

How often I need his hand

on the small of my back

giving me a gentle shove.


When I picture that hand

in my mind’s eye

I see the hair

the veins that bring the blood

from his heart,

a heart so full

so big it reaches to heaven.


It also reaches into my heart

when I think of his first noticing

and then stooping down

to touch the person on the side of the road

the person nobody else would go near.

I am touched to tears. 


That was the hand of Jesus

reaching down as it does now

to this sinner.


Note:  With gratitude to David Chadwell for his web piece entitled: “How low will Jesus stoop?”

Written 8-10-18






Molasses            Print this poem only


Unlike Paul on the road to Damascus

my conversion moved like molasses.


But the hound of heaven kept pursuing

his slow moving son prone to gluing

and sticking to his flaws and inept ways

with every excuse for endless delays.


That hound eventually caught me

in the songs that tearfully brought me

to my knees in helpless surrender

to prayer and his merciful splendor.


Unlike Paul on the road to Damascus

my conversion moved like molasses.


But there were hunters following that hound

who kept up till their prey was found

and stood by me gently listening,

my voice quaking my eyes glistening.


Full of my doubts and questions

they heard me and made suggestions

led me to some uncommon men

who described the road where they’d been.


Unlike Paul on the road to Damascus

my conversion moved like molasses.

The hound of heaven no longer bays

but speaks in sermons and songs of praise

he catches me in traffic on the road

and even in moments of overload.


He saves me from my darkness each day,

his Word shows me the way

and other brothers teach me to fight

out of that dark and into the light.


Now, like Paul, my Savior I’ve found

and my pace quickens to catch that Hound.

Author’s Note: A small group I belong to was discussing how the Christian life is one of being continually conformed to be Christlike.  One of the guys said that starting from birth, God gradually works on the things in our life that need to be corrected and when those get done, he moves on the next thing we need to work on (things that need to go or things that need to be added), and so on and so forth.  In his case, my friend said, this is slow as molasses since it seems all the issues and things he should have worked out a decade or more ago keep holding him down. I related to his comments and decided spiritual life as molasses would be a good metaphor and topic for a poem.  I came up with the first two lines and was going to make it a two line poem, but then I got to thinking about how that process has worked out over my life and in the past year in particular.       Written 5-5-16

The Hound of Heaven refers to Francis Thompson's poem by that name. Below are the first few lines, the ones that inspire me the most:

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;

    I fled Him, down the arches of the years;

I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways

    Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears

I hid from Him, and under running laughter.


See also the Wikipedia article on the poem


Pilot Light        Print this poem only

Today the pain is strong

it is a gravelly nagging voice

speaking its own foreign tongue

or no tongue at all just groans

or whimpers, or random unexpected wails

but it is there

an unseen, unending presence

an implanted

galling calling



She has been corrected

a hundred times

always with the idle reply “sorry”


to placate and deflect

another chide.

Is she unable to learn

or just unwilling?

I have taken into me

her and her flaw

a scratching




Oh! the stories each of us could tell
a million moments of our little hell

but just as sure as those thorns

haunt us and bore inside

there also light abides

like current ready at the outlet

we can plug in when we’re beset

by fear, fatigue, and folly

or bouts with melancholy

maybe that’s what they call grace

maybe inside of us there’s a sacred space

where we can make our retreat

where our soul and circumstance can meet.


Being human

means having both darkness and light

always the dark is ready to bite

and pull us under

tearing our lives asunder.

Busy with a hundred tasks

playing our roles wearing our masks

we forget the calm within

and the deeper force under our skin.


The butterfly flutters by

snowflakes and autumn fall from the sky

we giggle with the little child

we brush up against the wild

write a poem, hear a song

breathe cool air sing along.

These tiny moments of grace

should remind us to embrace

and fan and make bright

the flame from that Pilot Light.


Written 10-10-17


Ever There         Print this poem only


You are never never in any land
where you cannot reach my hand
never never in any space
out of my embrace.

I fly between the windmill’s blades
in the rainbow and in the shades
in every corner of your anxious room
even in your desperate doom.

You and I have walked together
when you knew not whether
you would make it through the day
and you took your mind faraway.

But I was in your every hair and breath
where I will be until your death.
Your heart is full of mine
a vessel brimming with Divine.

So when you think you’ve crossed
into the desert and are lost...
Stop.  Fill your lungs with air.
And find me always and ever there.

Written 4-13-17   See also Poems of  January - April 2017

Ever There

Upon the Waters         Print this poem only


Oh you brash God.

You call me out upon the waters,

me in my fears and inadequacies.

But beyond human understanding

you have faith in me. 


I am Peter.  I step out of that boat

then when things get rough

I panic.


Like Peter, I call upon you:

Save me from sinking,

rescue me from my dimming faith

and vanishing courage!

I see you vaguely

hear you faintly

I am not saintly,

just an ordinary man.


But they were 12 ordinary men

you called them

they followed.


So here I go

because I know you are there

to calm the waters - if I but reach out to you.

You are here - to help me into the boat

for this journey

across the waters…


I leap


You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior


Oh Jesus yeah, my God

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine


Oceans” by Hillsong United    Songwriters: JOEL HOUSTON, MATT CROCKER, SALOMON LIGHTHELM



Written 1-18-17



Constancy         Print this poem only

I woke up adrift today

not knowing If you would be

close to me or far away

my mind was an angry sea.


Do you lead to waters still and clear

through the valley of the shadow of death

to green pastures where no evil I’ll fear

where you’ll be in my every breath?


Oh Lord,  sometimes anger overtakes

and I’m chained by my ego pride

or a sadness breaks and shakes

the fabric of peace that’s inside.


Sometimes it seems an evil descends

invades the very rooms of my soul

and I feel lonely and devoid of friends

yearning and burning to be whole.


They say you never change

but down to the river I go

I see you move from range to range

I hear the rush of your vibrant flow.


It matters not how far I feel,

if guilt and shame bow me to knee

you’re here inside and really real

and I know its your love that’s my constancy.

Written 4-16-17


Resonance         Print this poem only


“From resonance comes the day
of increase and degree…

of expanses, of shadow recently fleeing,

and drops that from the heart of heaven

fall like celestial blood.”


From: the poem, “One Day Stands Out,” in Residence on Earth by Pablo Neruda


The drops of your prayers

fall upon me like moments of heaven. 

Encounters with friends and lovers,

full of exposure, weakness, and fragility

resonate and crown these brief eras

like royalty forsaken for love,

like the cherishing of a mother’s eyes

gazing at her baby

who looks back as if to say

“this moment with you
is why God put me here.”


Author’s Note:  Written after an evening of sharing deeply with close friends, after reading a friend’s email assuring me of her prayers, and after reading the poem by Neruda excerpted above.


Written 5-24-18


And yet…            Print this poem only

Here I am this tiny planet

garnering your full attention


and yet


you pulse in every nebula

explode in every star in my galaxy.


I in my small orbit

around this rich spacious solar system

breathe only this oxygen

but with each breath you exhale a universe.


and yet


you inhale

every impulse of my mind with ease

suspend yourself in every particles of my soul

with such love.


I a mere ion

swirl in the plasma circulating

in the heart of your love.

I beat with the firm rhthm of Marley

and the sweet strains of Debussy

I jangle in the metal bracelets of my first piano teacher

who taught me to play Rhomberg

and urged me to write my first poem.


You are infinite

and yet

so personal to me.


Written 10-5-22

And yet...
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