I've heard it said
That some birds, fleet and swift-feathered,
Have wings of such unspeakable genius
That, standing in a mistral wind,
All they must do is spread their wings
And up they rise, like dazzled pieces of the sky,
Without a flap, a cry, a slight exertion.
Lord, sometimes I feel
That that was me, in the wild romance
Of youthful faith, with all its breathless zeal--
A prayer, a thought, a single moment,
Could launch me whirling straight into joy,
The region of Thy glory, ineffable, immense,
Without a doubt, a labor, a spark of heartache.
But there are other birds, too--
Incarnations of earth and lake and tree,
Who take to the sky with thunderous work,
The torment of a hundred wingbeats
Raking the wind with fierce assaults
Until it lifts them up, grudging in submission,
To bear them to a better clime.
Today, sweet Lord, I am the second bird--
Where prayer, contentment, mystic bliss,
Seem like a strange and foreign element,
Wherein I can gain a momentary access
By herculean labors of ascetic toil alone;
And even then, I know I'm destined down--
Back down to earth from which I toiled to rise.
But I know that earth, that lake, that tree,
I know it better than I ever knew before:
The exultations of youthful faith had wings,
But knew not whence its flight made rise;
The consolations of ungrounded bliss,
While sweet, could not fly endlessly so high
Without the solid strength of a launching-place.
Now I stand, firm on the ancient, gracious rock,
And know that I am a thing of earth,
Of water, stone, and tree...but still:
A thing designed to ride the lofty skies.
I know that I must learn to fly,
Upborne by grace, by toil, by discipline,
Until I ride the zephyr winds to Thee.
* Note to My Readers: Due to the busyness of the next month and a half, I'm making a few minor changes to my schedule of posting. All posts will continue to be made daily and will consist of material that has not appeared before on this blog. However, because my time will be taken up by my final thesis defense for my Master of Church History degree and by a trip to the Holy Land, several of my ongoing series will be on hold until May.
- On Wednesdays, I'll be posting some of my original poems from my college years, and then in May my "Evangeliad" poems will resume.
- On Thursdays, my series on "How to Be Miserable in Your Christian Life" will wrap up by the end of March. That will conclude that series for now; however, if you enjoyed it, please let me know, because I may add more to it at some later point.
- And on Fridays, my "Glimpses of Grace" series will be on hiatus until May. In the meantime, it will be replaced with a serialized, unpublished novella that I wrote back in 2005, "Worth It All." Beginning in the first week of May, "Glimpses of Grace" will return, this time in the Thursday slot, and a newly-composed adventure novel will be posted on Fridays.