Hymn: Like a Lamb

Originally published 03-18-19

Like a Lamb

Like a lamb unto the slaughter
Christ went, and closed his mouth
Rescuing each son and daughter
From pain of death and doubt.

Like an olive in a winepress,
The pain of every sin
Rolls over The Only Sinless,
The Only Perfect Man.

Like a shepherd in the mountains
He searches for lost sheep.
There is no height he will not climb
To bring home you and me.

Like a fount of living water
Christ nourishes my soul.
He makes rough troubles calmer.
He cleans me, makes me whole.

Frosted Flowers

Originally published 03-15-19

Frosted Flowers

I saw the flowerbed
In the winter morning sun–
Mulch, with
Strong short tulip sprouts,
And white and purple pansies.

In the middle, a statue–a man, a woman,
And a child taking early but encouraged steps
In a joyous, bronzed moment–
And in their shadow, frost.

The frosted flowers, I saw,
Weren’t dead,
But drooped,
Vibrant petals
Hanging down,
Slumped, dejected.

The sun had just climbed enough
that the shadow abandoned one slumping pansy.
It twitched.
The head slowly lifted
And the flower drooped
Not quite as far.

Further from the shade,
I saw the bright purples standing tall,
Proud, stripped of frost by
Bright sunlight,
Becoming bright nature,
And the day seemed warmer.

And I walked away warm inside,
Feeling that however long
And cold
The night,
The sun will come,
And I can rise, bright again.

Sometimes He Calms the Storm

Originally published 03-10-19

In high school, someone I knew made a clay model of an empty, mostly sunk boat. The title of this art piece, and the inspiration for this poem, is “Sometimes He calms the storm, sometimes He calms the sailor.” I thought this especially fit the Come Follow Me for this week, where Christ calmed the tempest.

Sometimes He Calms the Storm

One bright spring day, a fisherman
left home to ply his trade.
With a prayer to God to return him safe,
he sailed into the waves.

He cast his net, and gathered in fish
to feed his family poor.
Then, with a prayer of thanks to God,
he started home once more.

Then, suddenly, swift winds arose
and a storm was all around him.
He fought to steer and stay aboard
as waves began to pound him.

The sea attacked and stole away
his fish, his nets, his oars,
and the lonely seaman, struggling, desperate,
fought the storm for hours.

And as he strove to stay alive
his hour of death seemed near,
and, in hope and desperation,
he lifted up a prayer:

“I ask this not for me, alone,
but for my family, too.
Please help me live through this fierce storm
to give them house and food.”

And as his boat was bashed by waves
the sailor saw a single ray of light
pierce the clouds and strike his boat,
and he felt all would be right.

The sailor then felt peace so deep
it seemed to calm the storm.
He felt that God was next to him,
and his soul felt still and warmth.

Though pounding waves still crashed and raged,
though the water felt like ice,
though the sailor’s fate was still in doubt,
He felt serene inside.

I don’t know this story ends,
perhaps he lived, perhaps he died.
I don’t know if God wanted him
to die, or to survive.

But I know this: in seas of live
were each faced with storms of trial and danger
and though sometimes God will calm the storm,
sometimes He just calms the sailor.

Stained Glass

Stained Glass

Originally published 03-01-19

A breathtaking mosaic of stained glass,
and shadows fall on all but two panes.

I stop.
The whole window is exquisite,
but only the glass in the sunlight

It sparkles beautifully.

My curious eyes go straight
to the few bright, glittering panels,
and something deep inside me says,

“You, too, are a stained-glass window.
You, too, are a glorious masterpiece
that sometimes won’t let Light through.
You, too, don’t always sparkle.
But you can.”

I cannot forget that day.
I cannot look at a fellow earthly wanderer
and not see their marvelous, divine craftsmanship,
their stained-glass splendor,
and I yearn to see them
glisten their true beauty to the world.

The gospel does not make sand into glass,
it already has ancient, stunning glass to work with.
It makes stained glass sparkle.

We Battle on for Greatness

We Battle on for Greatness

Originally published 02-15-19

We battle on for greatness,
but forget just what that means.
The largest house? The richest life?
such are façades we trade for dreams.

And we give up ourselves,
as we fight to reach the peak.
We rationalize ninety-nine percent good,
and leave the one lost sheep.

We forget the shoulders we ride on,
and let no one stand on ours.
we fight to the end, and find that
the fault was not in our stars,

But that we fought for height, not brightness,
and inside, we are no star.
Our lamp would not guide poor lost sheep
through the darkness very far.

So never trade your values,
Whatever trials may come.
The final battle, after all,
Is for who you will become.

From the girls who wonder why you guys won’t ask us on more dates

Originally published 02-14-2019

From the girls who wonder why you guys won’t ask us on more dates

From the girls who wonder why you guys don’t ask us on more dates—
we received your letter; we were glad to know the reasons for our fate
(that is, eating Meadow Gold ice cream on the couch alone at night),
and now we’re responding to clarify some things and set you right.

First, be sure to check our left hands for the ring that we may wear.
At least we have a way to tell you we’re engaged, so it’s more than fair
that you’re the one who has to ask, and, by the way, it would help our doubt
if you clarified whether this was an actual date or just us “hanging out.”

It’s not like we want to make you suffer when you try to set up a date,
but we can’t proclaim “I’m single!” or “Taken!” without us sounding fake.
So then we have to figure out a way to say no if we’re not interested,
or how to say we’d like to go despite our schedule being congested.

The real reason we can’t join you on your date at half past nine
is that we have a Pride and Prejudice marathon at that time,
and regardless of your efforts to be a gentleman, we’re sorry,
but there’s no way you can surpass the perfection of Mr. Darcy.

And when we eat, we hesitate, not wanting to spend too much
If you would give a price range, we’d take it as a stroke of luck.
And are you the type who thinks we order salad to impress you,
or the kind who’s disgusted when we pick a burger, fries, and shake, too?

Driving is worse than walking when you tell us to put the radio on:
if we like country or classical or something we’re not quite sure you’ll want,
we wait, deliberate, you wonder why we girls are so indecisive,
and instead of music, we listen to a loud and awkward silence.

All we really hope for is that you’ll stay off your phone,
and, please, don’t regale us with the other girls you’ve known.
Don’t try to fix our problems, don’t question us on sports.
Watch some chick flicks, then you’ll know how to act around a girl.

It would be nice if those etiquette tips were as common as you mentioned,
but instead we wait in the car, wondering if our door will be opened.
If we turn the handle too quickly on our own, you make us get back in,
but if we wait, you’re confused, and your realization makes us cringe.

We dread the doorstep scene, that moment of tension, too,
not sure if you’ll try to kiss us—not sure what we’d do,
So you might as well just ask us permission, or, at least
find a better spot than the wan porch light above the street.

When we walk inside, our roommates pounce, unabashed,
telling us they watched from the window and are sure it’ll last.
We agonize what, and when, to text you, searching for the blend
between being eager and rude, between clingy and just a friend.

And suddenly we’re in that strange, uncharted space that lies between
just being friends hanging out, and being an actual thing.
So when we see you again, we don’t know what to do or say
to make sure we haven’t taken the first date the wrong way.

Then our waiting is torture, whether we want a second date or not,
and we’re not sure, either, when or if you should respond.
When you ask us on that second date, the whole thing starts again,
and we know there’s only two ways in which this cycle ends.

And so, in the end, I think I agree with your conclusion
that it’s easier to die alone and avoid all this confusion.
But I guess it would be worth it, every pointless, awkward date,
if it led you to the one you loved, an eternal, celestial mate.

To you girls who wonder why we guys don’t ask you on more dates.

Originally published 12-14-19

To you girls who wonder why we guys don’t ask you on more dates.

To you girls who wonder why we guys don’t ask you on more dates.
There’s no more need to wonder, there’s no more need to wait,
I wrote this poem as an answer, I hope it can help you
Stay and listen close, because I’ve got a reason or two.

First, it’s just so hard to get the courage to ask you out,
I just can never know how it’s going to turn out.
I’ll say, “this Friday, maybe, do you happen to be free?”
and you’ll say “Oops, hold on, my fiancé’s calling me.”

Or maybe you’ll say something like “Oh, that would be great!
I’ve been meaning for a while to start a study group up—thanks!”
Or maybe you’ll say, “Friday I have my great-aunt’s funeral”.
Asking you out after that just really isn’t doable.

And then, even if you agree, we have to pick a time,
and the earliest that I could pick you up is half-past nine.
Earlier, I’m meeting with some friends, and no amount of love
is making me miss one day of my Winnie the Pooh fan club.

And when that is decided, we need to pick a place to go—
and this can be the trickiest, cause how on earth would I know
a place that’s gluten-free, paleo, and vegan,
no peanuts, no GMO, and a price that’s within reason?

I’d pick you up, and we’d go and cruise in my super nice ride,
but I’m a college student, so you’ll have to let that slide.
We could walk together and just hope it doesn’t rain,
or get a tandem bike, and pedal through the pain.

And what if I find that you chew food with an open mouth?
how do I explain to you that that is when our date went south?
or what if I talk with my mouth full, how will you tell me?
I hope you won’t just let the world know on your Insta feed.

And then there’s all the etiquette—hold the door for you,
get your chair, say I like your hair, and all of it on cue.
And if I somehow get it all right, there are no special perks,
but if I miss a single thing, I’m suddenly a jerk.

Then, when we’ve survived an hour, we walk back to your door,
and my recurring nightmares tell me I’ve been here before—
Will I go for a kiss and you for the hug? Will I say goodbye super weird?
Will I sneeze from your perfume? There’s lots of things to fear.

And after I come home from all the nervousness and sweating,
my roommates all will pester me and ask “Hey, when’s the wedding?”
And you will text me something—or maybe not, and I
will be wondering what you thought of the date the whole rest of the night.

And maybe you enjoyed it, and you text this to me:
“I liked the date, we should do it again! I’m free for eternity :)”
or maybe, the next time I see you you’d speed walk the other way,
and I’m left to wonder why I followed the prophet’s advice to date.

And on the tiny chance it all went well, we find some sort of spark,
A first date isn’t nearly the end of my problems, really just the start
The next insurmountable obstacle I have to face: “the second date”
How should I ask you? What should we do? How long should I wait?

The dating scene in Provo’s just a tad too tough for me,
And so, I guess you’ll spend your next Friday night quite free.
I’m content, thank you very much, to spend my weekend nights at home—
So girls, I’d ask you on a date, but it’s easier to die alone.