Category Archives: poems

Whatever This Is

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He didn’t even spare his own Son –
	He’s not going to let that sacrifice go to waste!
What accusations? The answer is already
	on the table.
What condemnation? The penalty has already
	been paid. Over and done.
And now he’s at God’s side – has God’s ear.
	[Every mistake, every failing, every sin
		filtered through the prism of
		Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice.
	Over before it’s done.]

So what!
	So what? So this:
		Nothing.
			NOTHING!
				NO-THING
		can come between me-and-him!

Hard stuff – really hard stuff?
		Nope.
Tears – piteous wailing – agonizing desperation? 
		Nope.
Faith-haters – faith-hurters – stone-hurlers? 
		Nope.
Empty stomach? Empty closet?
	Not those, either.

READ THIS:
	Because of You
		Death is daily, moment-by-moment
			Slow, torturous.
		We’re in line for the slaughterhouse.

But – however – nonetheless – yet…
		WAIT! Hold presses!
	Fooled ya’!
		We win! We win! We win!
			We won! You won!
	Your love — death-to-self, us-before-you,
		climb-up-on-the-cross-and-die-for-me love…
Your love won the fight, the battle, the war
	long before I even knew there was an argument.

And so, I know this — with every ounce of knowing,
	every fiber of my being,
	beyond the doubts that hide in shadows:

	Ain’t nothin’ comin’ ‘tween me and your love!
		Death – life
		Angels – kings – congress – presidents
		Now – not yet
		Enemies of the state
		Unclimbable mountains – unfordable valleys
		Stuff that's made

Nothing at all can come between
	me-and-your-love.

[Guess I can handle this*, huh?]



			*whatever “this” is

(Based on Romans 8:31-39.)

Now What?

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Carols sung
Cookies frosted
Cinnamon rolls rolled
Dozens on dozens
Now what?

Tree trimmed
Halls decked
Presents hid
Stockings hung
Now what?

Baby born
Shepherds came
Circumcised
Prophet-blessed
Now what?

Christmas morn
Joy unbridled
Laughter laughed
Mem’ries made
Now what?

Gifts unwrapped
Wrappings discarded
Dinner eaten
Hearts and stomachs satisfied
Now what?

Wise men-gifted
Angel-warned
Flee to Egypt
Set up shop
Now what?

Games played
Puzzles puzzled
Movies watched
Cookies and desserts devoured
Now what?

Immigrants and refugees
Fear and strange new worlds
Tents and lines
Our ancestors once lived here
Now what?

Christmas isn’t just a day
Not just swapping gifts
Not just cookies,
Ham and bread
Now what?

Life goes on
The baby grows unnoticed
Will he in my life still today
Live on invisibly?
Now what?

Angels, prophets
Stars and kings
Shepherds, cousin
Enemies
Now what?

Messengers from God
Tellers of the story
Angels then
Neighbors now
Now what?

(c) 2016, Randall J. Ehle. All rights reserved.

Mary Did They Know?

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mother-and-kids-afghanThe song has become popular recently, especially with the beautiful arrangement by Pentatonix. But as I saw in a recent Twitter post, “Yes, Mary did know. Now quit asking!”

We often miss the human side of the original Christmas story, though. And though Mary did know that “this sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am,” many others throughout his life missed it. Here, then, are some new words for the old song asking questions from a different point of view….

Mary, did they know you were young and scared and filled with childlike wonder?
Mary, did they know you were just a girl when life around you thundered?
Did they know that the man you wed was not your baby’s dad?
The tears that stain your cheeks now aren’t tears from being sad.

Mary, did they know when the shepherds came to gaze upon your child
Mary, did they know that before he’s weaned, the boy would be reviled?
Did they know that the Roman king would seek to have him killed?
This innocent in your arms the prophecies fulfilled.

The shepherds came, the wise men kneeled, the angels sing his praise.
The rulers fear, the common cheer, this babe who will be raised.

Mary, did they know that a virgin girl had carried God in her womb?
Mary, did they know that before you died you’d weep outside of his tomb?
Did they know that your life would be a tragedy of peace?
The child there in the manger would make suff’ring cease.

Mary, did they know?

(c) 2016, Randall J. Ehle. All rights reserved.

5.25.15

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Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

marble whitecaps undulating on seas of green
each cross, each star, an etchéd mem’ry
	of some fallen one
heroes all, though none would deign
	to claim the title
we’ve given them today

they trained for war yet prayed for peace
	and wrestled freedom from tyranny’s grasp
while longing for home and love and life
	and one more day with son or wife

for us they fought, who never knew
	the battles’ fears and weapons’ fury
for us who now too oft forget
	the price our precious freedoms carry

they fought in wars not understood
	in fields and jungles, skies and seas
in desert sands, on snowy peaks
	in skirmish lines or unmanned planes
through rifle sights or satellites
	with bayonets and house-to-house
in blood-filled trench or concrete bunker

while some returned to ticker tape
	or ship’s first kiss
		or great surprise
still others came in flag-draped box
	or not at all—
		interred at deep
			or buried ‘neath some foreign soil

today we stand beside the sea
	of marble white and fescued green
unable now to fully grasp
	the weight of sacrifices past
the names unknown to but a few
	rememb’ring what we never knew
		and cannot know…
we honor them no less


Poem and Photo Copyright 2015 by Randall J. Ehle. All rights reserved.

Death Is Dead

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jesus statue kneeling

Though death is dead
        to death he wages war
Each death a vict'ry
        in this lovers' quarrel
'tween sin and death—
        two partners in the fight
to steal mens' lives
        and lay them in the grave
 
Yes death is dead
       but still death carries pain
As one much-loved
       slips out beyond our grasp
And leaves a hole
       that never shall be filled
Though life and time
       for us yet linger on
 
Yes death is dead
        and sin's defeated, too
That much made known
        one Resurrection Day
When One who died
        for sin lay buried in the ground
And three days on
        no longer to be found
 
Yes death is dead
       and life is sweeter far
When lived with hope
       of life beyond the grave
A life for Him 
       who buried death itself
To give us life
       eternally with Him


[Written in honor of my sister-in-law, Jeaneen Blackinton Davis, as she fought a brain tumor that finally stole her life on April 27, 2015.]