Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Lord, have mercy on me a sinner
who doesn’t think she is all that bad,
having kept the Ten Commandments
totally intact without going off track
like those Psalm One people who hang out
with the wicked or stand in the way of
anyone ready to do wrong or sit around
scoffing and coughing on a joint.
That’s not me, Lord!
No, I’m not perfect, but I do honor You
as the Only One I want to worship, and I do
say “God bless you” to almost everyone
instead of handing out curses, and I read
my Bibles and know a lot of verses, and
I mostly go inside whenever the church’s
doors are open, and I truly honored my
parents and never murdered anyone nor
committed adultery nor done anything
that might get me arrested!
Am I being tested?
Right when Your Ten Commands sound doable,
the tone changes and each priority rearranges,
reminding me of how, yes, I have stolen
time from my family and, oh, You, Lord!
And how I’ve spread a rumor without checking
facts, and how I’ve acted as though I don’t mind
being in a bind when others have too much or
when I gave such effort yet failed to be a winner.
Praise You, Lord, for having mercy on me,
by Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017, from the forthcoming poetry chapbook, WE: the people under God, to be published in September by Finishing Line Press.
Monday, January 7, 2013
To The Man From New Manna
by Mary Harwell Sayler
The day delivers
your beautiful letter
with foreign phrases
in English describing
your anguish in learning
the language of poetry
and how you are “scripting”
me for instructions.
I ponder the problem
of working with you:
a new writer writing new
language for Christians –
your command of healing
too primitive to realize
today’s dead do not raise
in Jesus Christ’s name.
Can I now ever
© 2013, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. Based on a true episode, this poem originally saw print in the now out-of-print Poetry: Taking Its Course - a traditionally published book based on the poetry home study course I wrote in the 1980's and used for years in working with poetry students. However, the original version, which was written especially for Christian poets and writers, is now available in the Kindle e-book, Christian Poet’s Guide to Writing Poetry, and the poem also appears in my book of Bible-based poems, Outside Eden, published in 2014 by Kelsay Books.