The Centerfold: A Warning

The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them!  (Psalm 135:15-18 ESV)


That glossy book of perdition
in the hand evokes a dark emotion

The pulse intensifies
Over a page that temporarily satisfies

A soul in need of more
Despite the need within the core

This poisonous meal is consumed
Unaware that he is truly doomed

Each page. Each image. Each bite.
Creates a darkness darker than night.

Yet he presses on towards his prize
The centerfold of forbidden fruit and lies.

A tall beauty never meant for his gaze
Finally, the object of his praise

She smiles beautifully with luscious lips
But she cannot speak his soul from the pits

She looks at him with eyes that pierce his soul
Yet her image is blind, eyes dark as coal

“I’m a great listener” says her profile
But she is deaf and he is in denial

On the page, her form and figure appear complete
Yet she is lifeless and he is a cheat

He, too, has a mouth with which to speak
Yet he is mute as his family falls over the peak

He has eyes to see the harm he brings
Yet he is blind to the one on whose finger he placed rings

He has ears to hear the sounds of impending doom
Yet he is deaf to the warnings that dangers loom

He is among the living, working and playing each day
Yet he is lifeless, his soul in decay

Mute. Blind. Deaf. Lifeless.
You become what you worship, image what you bless.



The God of the Cloud

At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out. They kept the charge of the LORD, at the command of the LORD by Moses - Numbers 9:23

Each morning I arise and from my tent I see

The great Cloud at the center of camp which torments me

For days uncounted, the Cloud has not moved

So I sit in my tent, scraping by on daily food

The God of the Cloud has given his law

“Move when the Cloud moves,” but no movement I saw

My heart grows anxious, “Why do we sit in this arid land?”

I long for the promised milk, yet I’m held back by a command

I look again from my tent, the Cloud has not moved

So again I sit, scraping by on daily food

Wondering, Waiting, Wishing; I want to just go!

The God of the Cloud is excessively slow!

To my neighbor, I complained about the unmoving Cloud

To which he rebuked me and shouted aloud,

“Where is your faith, my fretful friend?

Were you not delivered from slavery’s end?”

“In power and might the God of the Cloud has acted,

In sniveling and complaining you have reacted”

“Repent, repent,” he shouted aloud

And I fell on my face, in the fear of the God of the Cloud

With my face in the sand, then I remembered

How with power and might the God of the Cloud thundered

“Let my people go!” and released were we

I remembered feeling free when he split the sea

I remembered the mana that fell each day

I remembered all the great acts; my heart pierced by His ray

Now as I look out my tent, the Cloud still has not moved

Yet now I sit and wait, rejoicing in daily food

The God of the Cloud is not slow as some think

Instead He teaches by bringing us to the brink

The end of ourselves is the beginning of Him

And to those who wait, sweet milk is poured, overflowing the brim

~Soli Deo gloria

The Raven: Public Accounting Edition

Inspired by a really bad poem by a statistician (click here)

The Raven – by Edgar Allan Poe & Justin Camblin

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of financial lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my cubicle door.
`’Tis some client,’ I muttered, `tapping at my cubicle door –
Wanting reports, and nothing more.’

At risk of developing lesions during a bleak and dreadful tax season,
As each piece of my reason left and died upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the spring; – April 15, my mind rings
Each day the calendar brings, stings for my sanity which is no more
For the rare and radiant gift from above, my sanity which is no more
Nameless here for evermore.

And the sad distant (as if a mile), rustling of each paper file
Thrilled me – filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`’Tis some client entreating entrance at my cubicle door –
Some late client entreating entrance at my cubicle door; –
Wanting reports, and nothing more,’

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,’ said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was counting, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my cubicle door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you’ – here I opened wide the door; –
Darkened hallway there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no accountant ever dared to dream before
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered words, `Sanity – No More!’
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the words, `Sanity – No More’
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the cubicle turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,’ said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore –
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; –
‘Tis the wind and nothing more!’

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my cubicle door –
Perched upon a bust of the Partners just above my cubicle door –
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,’ I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore –
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning – little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his cubicle door –
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his cubicle door,
With such name as `Nevermore.’

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered – not a feather then he fluttered –
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before –
In the spring he will leave me, as the tax seasons have flown before.’
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.’

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,’ said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore –
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of “Never-nevermore.”‘

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore –
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.’

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,’ I cried, `thy God hath lent thee – by these angels he has sent thee
Respite – respite and nepenthe from thy memories of my Sanity – No More!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Sanity for evermore!’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

`Prophet!’ said I, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil! –
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted –
On this home by horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore –
Will there, will there be April 15? – tell me – tell me, I implore!’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

`Prophet!’ said I, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us – by that God we both adore –
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Eden,
I shall attain my sanity, that I lost so long ago, attain it evermore –
Attain my mind, my wits, my sanity evermore?’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!’ I shrieked upstarting –
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! – quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of the Partners just above my cubicle door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – nevermore!