the doer

the sign of a doer rests not in the mind

nor bound shelves or desirable degrees

social provocation or party destinations

checks cut or figured salaries

worn crucifixes or alter calls

 

the sign of a doer rests on the feet

grass stained and torn

blistered and cracked

dirty from toil

cut from strife

tired from pursuit

laced from posture

 

doers rest on bended knees

while others nod and clap

the weight of anticipation forces

itself on the silt-filled feet of doers

who have done what needed done

for kingdom come.

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— 27 —

pray

without ceasing

they said

 

but

there is

life to live

people to love

places to go

books to read

music to hear

flowers to smell

rivers to see

mountains to climb

 

the well

runs

dry

 

there

in

the days

with no numbers

amongst

the morning breaths

and enemies

the city fights

and bad harmonies

the unmade beds

and crying babies

the poisoned streams

and wet tent memories

 

pray

without

ceasing

REDEEMED

WAKE

From the soil, they rose, in the footsteps of the King.

The fruit hung low, trees ripe, birds sing.

Flesh, emboldened, and pure in form.

The days before the veil need torn.

TOIL

The sea, it spread, the rocks were thrown.

A harp, the wars, an exile bemoaned.

He’ll come one day, they cried out below.

The vines sat ripe, seeds to be sown.

REST

For a moment, they sit, they stare in awe.

The walls knocked down, so too, the law.

A dove flies near, with watchful eyes.

Sins of the world, gone with a sigh.

KNEEL

Hands held, head down, a state of prayer.

It makes no sense — not just, nor fair.

That He shall die, so I shall live.

On bended knees, my life I give.

 

-David Ray

-24-

Dawn.

Yesterday, washed with the shore. Today, risen with the doves.

Hot mugs, torn bindings — a compelling start.

Whisking worries, precious prayers, distant dreams.

A new sun brings light. Creates promise. Drives creation.

There is hope in the world, when the rooster crows.

Noon.

Elevators and handshakes and the Times and screens.

Pulled from here to there: the goal? Stay true.

But the collar pulls tight and the walls ring blank.

The clock ticks leisurely and the coffee is cold.

There is profit in the world, when the coat drapes shoulders.

Dusk.

There’s the sun, again. It’s been too long, old friend.

The plates are on the table and the six o’ clock news is on the set.

Would you stay awhile? Kick up your feet and wet your lips?

Tomorrow, it will come. Tonight, we dance.

There is love in the world, when the table is full.

Midnight.

The stars waltz, the moon hangs, the sky awakens.

The trees whisper bedtime tales of the days of long ago.

She’s asleep, the sun, there’s peace beneath the pines.

For a moment, there is silence. There is tranquility. There is stillness.

There is peace in the world, when the owl makes its bed.

 

— David Ray

Feed My Sheep

After a trip through the Gospels over the past month, I compiled my favorite things Jesus said, and created this poem. As it did to me, I hope it serves as a cold splash to the face. A reminder that Jesus said many beautiful things, all of which challenge the very core of our humanity. To sell our possessions in order to follow him, to deny ourselves and turn the other cheek, to love our neighbors including our enemies, and to remember it is finished and to feed his sheep.

Come, follow me.
Become fishers of men.
Ask and it will be given to you.
Let the dead bury their own dead.
Go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor.
Enter through the narrow gate.

Turn your cheek.
Do not judge or you will be judged.
He must deny himself and take up his cross.
First, take the plank out of your own eye.
Where are they? Has no one condemned you. Neither do I.

Take courage, it is I.


Love your neighbor.
Change and become like little children.
Look at the birds of the air.
Love your enemies.
Lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Stay here and keep watch.

It is finished.

Do not be afraid.
That your joy may be made full.
For where your treasure is, your heart will be also.
Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.
Feed my sheep.

-David Ray
Each line was pulled from a passage in the four canonical gospels, where Jesus was speaking.

Antiquated Dreams

well-kept hair and a charming smile
grass stains cover your sin meanwhile
peddlin’ through life with your fists clenched
destiny slippin’ away with every step
***
where’s the sensibility?
metro rides and front porch magazines
your sheets to keep you warm
and all those antiquated dreams
***
put on that button and tie
slip off to your runaway high
those infinite plots grabbin’ at your coat
the stories you tell won’t let you go
***
where’s the sensibility?
new york style and false kept memories
those sheets won’t keep you warm
damn those antiquated dreams
***
tempted by the fate of man
you swept the rug, you washed your hands
love, you do, but don’t know why
what good’s the sun without its rise?
***
where’s the sensibility?
indie bands and sweet sung melodies
your sheets, they’re on the floor
where are your antiquated dreams?
-David Ray

-38-

Whisper.

Rise with the sun and resonate with its glory.
Kiss the clay from which you were formed.
Toil with your thoughts.
Smell the grass. The soil. The production.
Run. Barefoot.
Let the silt fill nooks. Let the dew spring up. Let the leaves overtake you.

Speak.

Of love and fresh cut grass and September.
Of your mother, the beach, and Sunday morning.
Tell them while you’re young.
To feel the breeze. To embrace the rain.
Sleep by the moon and rise with its descent.
Write. Because you can. Create stories.

Scream.

Against inequality and disaster.
Shed tears, but give hands. Anger, but thirst. Fail, but start again.
Do not shy from battle.
Fight for justice. Rage for truth. Drive your heart.
Leave your sword on the field. Your pride in shambles. Your hands blistered.

Stop.

Wrestle with your mind.
Fly.
To the hilltop patches and river curves.
Dive.
Let your soul weep. Grasp the gravity of your existence.
Smile.
There’s today. And tomorrow, if only.
Do not live by a clock. Toss it out.
Live for the day.
Bask in the brilliance of your every breath.
Dirty your feet.
-David Ray