Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2009

Timothy Felch: The Lost Tribe of Dan

Timothy Felch prepared this interesting research paper for a class on the book of Revelation. He writes, "Basically, I have been troubled over why in the 12 tribes mentioned in the book, Dan is no where to be found." Read more to see what Timothy concludes.

Did the Tribe of Dan Get 'Left Behind'?
Timothy E. Felch

"And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: (5) from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, (6) from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, (7) from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, (8) from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, …

Another Poem by John C. Nichols

Prophet's Payday
John C. Nichols

Gazing across the empty field,
mocking words always seem
to fill his inspired brain.
Those broken bones hung out to dry
can never give a reason..
they always bring him tears.

Mind traveling faster than warp speed,
that unfailing youth feels his passion;
in the spreading silence does he kneel.
Cornered and caged,
the wretched man cries.

Longing for peace unseen,
the prophet’s eyes brightly burn.
Will they not listen?
Will they not walk
the tortuous path
that leads Paradise?

Will they not look?
not glimpse eternity?
Will they simply
tag along with all the rest?
Or will they wake up
and smell the promise of flowers?

Will they notice life
is a derailed affair,
lost within corrosive speech,
without a tongue to speak,
without purpose, without heart?
A world lost without the One
whom the prophet hails?

Raymond Foss' First Book of Poetry

Raymond Foss, whose poems have appeared here, has a book of 100 poems available from XLibris. The title is Poetry Where You Live, which is also the name of his blog:

Raymond has written over 3,900 poems, over 1,400 in the last year alone. Of these, over 3,800 are accessible at his blog. That site also has over 800 of his photographs. Over 3,000 of his posted poems are about his faith. Raymond and his pastor wife Ruth met at church. They are members of the United Methodist Church.

Raymond benefits most if his book is ordered through XLibris, but the book is also available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon online.

Author: Raymond A. Foss
ISBN: 1-4415-2534-3 (Trade Paperback)
ISBN13: 978-1-4415-2534-5 (Trade Paperback)

To order from Xlibris:
* Call: 1-888-795-4274
* Fax: 1-610-915-0294 or 1-610-915-0293
* E-mail:
* By mail, please send your order, along with a check or payment information to:

Attention: Book Orders
1663 Liberty Drive

Poetry for Supper?

Poetry for Supper
R.S. Thomas

'Listen, now, verse should be as natural
As the small tuber that feeds on muck
And grows slowly from obtuse soil
To the white flower
of immortal beauty.'

'Natural, hell! What was it Chaucer
Said once about the long toil
That goes like blood to the poem's making?
Leave it to nature and the verse sprawls,
Limp as bindweed, if it break at all
Life's iron crust.
Man, you must sweat
And rhyme your guts taut, if you'd build
Your verse a ladder.'
'You speak as though
No sunlight ever surprised the mind
Groping on its cloudy path.'

'Sunlight's a thing that needs a window
Before it enter a dark room.
Windows don't happen.'
So two old poets,
Hunched at their beer in the low haze
Of an inn parlour, while the talk ran
Noisily by them, glib with prose.

Of Wasps and Darwin

The following essay was written by William Henry Hudson (1841-1922), a British author, naturalist, and ornithologist. He wrote the novel Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest (1904). His writing is beautiful and rich in detail, the sort of detail that a trained naturalist would note.

In this essay he describes wasps in England whose habits recall to his mind “a host of wasps” which he had observed as a boy growing up in Argentina. He also writes about how Darwin’s theory of evolution had an unsettling impact on his thinking.

Hudson was suspicious of the empiricism of Darwin and his supporters. In The Purple Land he wrote: “Ah, yes, we are all vainly seeking after happiness in the wrong way. It was with us once and ours, but we despised it, for it was only the old common happiness which Nature gives to all her children, and we went away from it in search of another grander kind of happiness which some dreamer — Bacon or another — assured us we should find. We had only to co…

Another R.S. Thomas Poem

A Blackbird Singing
R.S. Thomas

It seems wrong that out of this bird,
Black, bold, a suggestion of dark
Places about it, there yet should come
Such rich music, as though the notes'
Ore were changed to a rare metal
At one touch of that bright bill.

You have heard it often, alone at your desk
In a green April, your mind drawn
Away from its work by sweet disturbance
Of the mild evening outside your room.

A slow singer, but loading each phrase
With history's overtones, love, joy
And grief learned by his dark tribe
In other orchards and passed on
Instinctively as they are now,
But fresh always with new tears.

A Poem by R.S. Thomas

The following poem was penned by the late Welsh poet and Anglican priest, R.S. Thomas (1913-2000).

One Life

Growing up
is to leave the fireside
with its tales,
the burying of the head
between God’s knees.
It is to perceive
that knowledge of him comes
from the genes’ breaking
of an involved code,
from the mind’s parallel
at-homeness with missile and scalpel.

Literature is on the way
out. The still, small voice
is that of Orpheus looking
over his shoulder at a dream
fading. At the mouth
of the cave is the machine’s
whirlwind, hurrying the new
arts in, advancing the threshold
of our permitted exposure to
its becquerels and decibels.

From Collected Later Poems 1988-2000.

Arabic 'Prince of Poets' Contest

ABU DHABI, June 18 – The famous classical Arabic poetry programme 'Prince of Poets' started Thursday its 2009 session, which has taken a new theme that highlights both Jahili Fort and the Centenary of the passing away of Sheikh Zayed the Great.

A large audience of poetry lovers and members of the Jury listened to the first seven of the 35 participating poets – Jihan Barakat (Egypt), Jamal Al-Mula (Oman), Walid Al-Sarraf (Iraq), Nasser Louhishi (Algeria), Turki Hussein Saleh Abdel-Ghani (Jordan), Mohammed Abdullah Al-Daba’a (Yemen) and Ould Mtali Lemrabet bin Ahmed (Mauritania) – who were competing during the first episode broadcast live on Abu Dhabi TV from Raha Beach Theatre to book three cards for the second stage of the competition. The adopted theme was reflected substantially on the theatre d├ęcor.

The episode was full of close critical stances scrutinizing the contestants' poems, which came down to the decision of the Jury - Dr. Abdul Malik Murtadd, Dr. Ali bin Tamim, D…
By Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Why should a single object—one small stone,
a rose, a picture or a Chinese vase
summon strong passions? Why should one
child singing high and clear lift you to the stars,
while a leaden sky hurls you down to hell?
How literal.
And yet, what other words
have you? With what language can you tell
of your silent discourse with another world?
And what is incarnation now? If not
one object, then everything. And what
is Resurrection now? Out of the dying
spring all things green against the grey sky—the breeze,
And in the distance the low-lying hills
Crowned with a ring of ancient surging trees.

From here.

E.E. Cummings: May my heart always be open to little birds

E.E. Cummings

may my heart always be open to little birds
who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old
may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young
and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile

Peter Marshall on the American Dream

Peter Marshall served as Senate Chaplain in the late 1940s. He was called the "Conscience of the Senate". More than ever, his voice needs to be heard in the chambers and halls of Congress. The following is an excerpt from one of his congressional sermons. It reminds us that our nation has strayed from the principles that made us great and free. We have defined the American Dream in material terms and forgotten that the dream has to do with spiritual greatness.


Today there is real danger that the American Dream will become the Forgotten Dream.

For freedom is not the right to do as one pleases
but the opportunity to please to do what is right.
The Founding Fathers sought freedom...
not from law but freedom in law;
not freedom from government - but freedom in government;
not freedom from speech - but freedom in speech;
not freedom from the press - but freedom in the press;
not freedom from religion - but freedom in religion.
We need to ponder these things today.


Attired with Stars

On Time
by John Milton

Fly envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy Plummets pace;
And glut thy self with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more then what is false and vain,
And meerly mortal dross;
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain.
For when as each thing bad thou hast entomb'd,
And last of all, thy greedy self consum'd,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss;
And Joy shall overtake us as a flood,
When every thing that is sincerely good
And perfectly divine,
With Truth, and Peace, and Love shall ever shine
About the supreme Throne
Of him, t'whose happy-making sight alone,
When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall clime,
Then all this Earthy grosnes quit,
Attir'd with Stars, we shall for ever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee O Time.

Stones in the Stream

Ed's Pacht's second response to the Poetry Challenge is similar in content to this first poem (here), but flavored differently.

Stones in the Stream
by Ed Pacht

The smooth speckled stones, straggling or stranded
in the rapid-running washing of the stream,
the liquid jiggler with its song like a chorus of wind chimes,
the gentle persuasion of musical renderings
that bring to life the presence of the place,
the towering presence of the harmony
of God and all the beauty He has made,
and stir in simple hearts a longing
for what they do not know they need.

And to this presence sometimes comes a seeker,
who has been laboring longer than he can endure,
whose thirsty spirit, drier now than death,
contains no promise but a forecast of disaster,
a seeming slide toward those forbidden portals,
a destruction just as sure as broken eggs,
an aching like a painful festering splinter, caring for none, and slowly falling away, with his fists a-beating on those portals,
seeking what he cannot know.

The smooth spec…

A Lonely Chorus of Wind Chimes

That's the title of John C. Nichols' poem, sumbitted in response to the Poetry Challenge to use words from a random list (see here).

“A Lonely Chorus of Wind Chimes”
John C. Nichols

I find that I
Am caring for none,
Feeling no remorse as I swiftly stab
The lifeless living with glass so fragile
Like a broken egg, like a painful splinter
Stuck in my heart.
I find that I
Am longing for all, yearning for that
Which is me denied.
Yet ev’ry word I spew is naught but
A lonely Chorus of Wind Chimes,
Tinkling in the straggling breeze.
I find that I
Am falling away burned out and broken.
My heart’s deep desires
Imprisoned and slain
By that towering presence, that presence of this place
Which sucks my passions dryer than Death,
Colder than space.

It is Kurtz to me—
An Abomination, a Heart of Darkness.
A truth so black a lie must suffice.
I wish it were not so.
I wish these renderings would return to my mind,
So that I may paint in harmony once again.
And with this gentle persuasion
I bid…

Poetry Challenge Results

Three poems have come from the recent challenge to use words from a random list (see here). For the next week, I will post some of the results. Other poems may come in later, as the deadline for this challenge is June 30.

Ed wrote: "Alice Linsley put out another of her challenges. To use words from the following list in a poem of from 12 to 30 lines. I intended to use just some of them, but as this moody piece began to grow, I found more and more of the words being worked into it. The poem finished, but untitled, I discovered I had used all but two of the suggestions, thus the rather cryptic title, implying that there is an untold backstory behind the poem. Maybe there is..."

-caring for none
-a painful splinter
-Presence of the place
-broken egg(s)
-towering presence
-gentle persuasion
-chorus of wind chimes
-falling away
-forbidden portals
-straggling or stranded
-smooth speckled stones
-laboring longer
-dryer than death

Here is the first…