The Flock

They look up to you,

Eyes brightly blinking,

Feathers ruffled and wings flapping,

Their little minds flitting-

A moment there, and a moment gone.

 

Small, darting, a blink of thought,

A twitch of sight, attention brought,

They’re not bright,

Incapable of flight –

Yet adoring all the same.

 

How eagerly from your hand they’ll eat,

Content to have the crumb of crust,

Overjoyed at a spatter of meal,

They hop over your toes,

About your legs circling and squawking.

 

What love and affection,

How simple and untroubled –

No creased forehead,

No mistrusting glares,

But the soft, tone-deaf cluck

Of contentment,

Harmony amateur.

 


 

A not particularly good poem I feel as though I practically vomited up. I couldn’t help it really.

I was just out feeding my chickens, and I suppose it’s a commonplace enough sight – but there’s something charmingly simple in the way they swarm over you, squawking and clucking and milling around your feet, staring up at your hand as they wait for grain to fall from your fingers with an eagerness comparable even to a Labrador. Sure, a cynic will be quick to point out, “They only love you for the food you give – you’re just a walking meal.”

True enough, but are we any better? How well can we trust the affection of those around us? Any cynic can, with sufficiently logical-sounding arguments, disassemble the whole of human relations into a series of trust-based transactions built on the necessity of cooperation for survival. In many ways your garden-variety corporation differs little from a flock of animals – to the cynic, both are merely a band of individuals who shelter together for their own individual well-being. If things get tough for other members, the only justification to helping them out is that it must benefit the self in some way. This is the extent of flesh relations, what the flesh and cerebellum alone can rationalize.

We are not good to one another because we are all human. If humanity were all we had to rely on – I can only point to the decadence of Rome, the savagery of Gaul, the depravity of the Levant, the myopic slave-mongering of the West African kingdoms, the bureaucratic tyranny of Imperial China, the callous culling present throughout every epoch of the Russian civilization, our own American history with slavery – and while some might cry that Man has often justified his actions with God’s own Book, allow me to highlight the operative clause:

Man has justified his actions.

It is when Man desires to justify himself that he leads himself into error, and abandons himself to his evil as thoroughly as the ignorant pagan.

This essay must be continued another time, sadly. But allow me to end on a message of hope, not despair.

Though Man is adrift in a sea of our own wretchedness, evil from head to toe, whether it be our hands or our muttering hearts which drip with blood, we have a savior. We have One who is better than us, One who, though receiving only hatred and contempt from His people, chose to love us past the point of death. He asks little of us, compared to what He has already given us in our lives here on Earth, even before we believe on His name. He loves us with a courage and a compassion palely reflected in the broken body of the mother who shields her child from bullets with her body; in the beating heart of the volunteer who for his small republic goes to battle against the pitiless foe, though he knows he will not return home; in the eyes of the king who wields the power to take life and liberty – and seeing a guilty man before him, broken and pleading for his life even as he admits his wretchedness – spares his life.

From God comes a love that neither you nor I will experience whilst trapped in our flesh. Only when freed by the Spirit will we taste of it, and only in the final sanctification within the halls of the New Jerusalem will we truly feast.

So, do not treat your fellows cynically. Do not mistrust their love or suspect them of manipulation. That is not for you to know. But merely imitate Your Lord, and love them ever more, and love Your Lord even moreso, with all your heart, body and soul. Upon these commands is founded the whole of His Law.

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Race to the Red Light

It’s fun sometimes, on an afternoon drive home from the warehouse, to observe the people who around me are making the same commute.

Fun is too strong a word. Amusing is more appropriate.

Watch the Honda Odyssey swerve across four lanes of traffic to go screaming down an exit ramp doing 65 in what will soon be a 35 zone. Take note of the open topped Ferrari driving ten below the limit, inducing the flash orange Dodge Charger behind him to cut in front of you with inches to spare, gunning it only to get stuck behind a dump truck. Or maybe you’ll be making a turn down a small city road past empty parking spaces when a girl with a top-knot and a frappe blows through those parking spaces in her daddy’s Audi A8 and nearly removes your right side mirror. See the Cadillac Escalade who in rage guns it to get around you and races towards the red light 50 feet ahead.

Why do we want to go so fast (the Ferrari notwithstanding)? What do human beings get out of getting 50 feet closer to home, at the risk of pulling a stupid and killing themselves with erratic, wild driving?

And why does this impatience carry over into the rest of our lives?

I can only speak for myself, being neither God nor one of His angels – but I know that I’m impatient. I have a decent enough job cutting metal at 12 an hour, and I’m trying to figure out how to get to 50,000 a year (preferably in two years or less.) I already have a contract to write adventure supplements for an RPG, but I want to have a publishing mill for stories and books. I want to marry my girlfriend (now would be nice!) but – I’ll be brutally honest  with myself – I still struggle day and night to stay above the temptation to look at pornography, praying to God for courage and resolve and for forgiveness and mercy to this dirty wretch down here.

Everything in its own time comes – for every thing there is a season, so sayeth Solomon. And like so we are admonished again and again in the Proverbs to lean on the wisdom of God and not on our own understanding of the world: (3:5) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding.”

There is no profit in racing to the finish line, for first place in the race that we can run on our own feet of flesh and bone is death. Wait upon the Lord and run His marathon, and when your bones are all worn to dust and your flesh shriveled by time, though your feet will be tired, your soul will be rested. Wait for the Lord’s deliverance or seek your own salvation – one will see you safely aboard the Inheritance, and the other will find you bailing water out of a sinking hulk.

Worrying is like racing to a red light. God will deliver you when the time is right; why waste your gas?

I Should Mention This….

I hate writing essays.

I’m good at them (or so I believe). And to an extent, sometimes they’re even fun.

That is, until I realize that writing like the way I’d like to talk is a very good way to devolve into a confusing mess of bizarrely punctuated run-on sentences.

Then it comes to the part I hate – writing in a way that’s meant to be readable.

Call me an elitist, but I don’t like the writing style which pervades most blogs – simple to the point of being a bullet-point checklist minus the dots, as conversational as a PowerPoint, and by my pompous wordiness do I hate 5 Steps to literally anything. What is with the internet and making everything a 5 Step process?

So, I guess I don’t really hate writing essays. I’m not fond of hearing the sound of my own voice, even on a screen, wary of conceit as the past few days have led me to be (more on that in another post, coming soon), but at heart I do like composing speeches.

I just don’t like making them readable.

Truth be told, I just hate lists.

That Light Might Shine

For a good while now, the god of the West has not been He who spoke the world from the raw firmament of His own being, but a concept. Human thought on the supernatural is ever in flux, but not so much progress is made as our academicians would like to suppose. For though we no longer strip off our clothes to dance before demonic idols and slake their thirst with the blood of our infants, criminals and bitter enemies as the Aztecs or the Celts of classical Europe once did, we have no less the same degree of fanaticism in the consecration of our mentally abstracted idols.

To wit, we worship liberty as Baal once was among the Canaanite peoples of the Levant. Our freedom to do as we please is as inviolable a divine mandate as the Law handed down to Moses – or so our actions say.

For even in many houses of God, we might hear so simple and easy a command as “Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” And yet in our American way, we strive, worry, bite and gnaw (yes, I remain guilty of this too) about what we shall eat, how our bills shall  be paid, what soil be predestined for our hands to cultivate, and in our fervor to labor for our own bread mistrust the providence of the God who formed the very soil that we till. Is God’s strength not greater than that of our flabby biceps, fat from the convenience and ease of our modern life? But perhaps we do not doubt God’s strength, but His willingness to condescend to our mundane needs and provide such little things such as money and good grades, or relief from an irritating case of the flu. His unwillingness to aid in those (or so it may be said) is not of Him. It is of our predisposition to credit our victories to ourselves, and not to Him who sustains us through the continual outpouring of His Word, without which would not exist a speck of the reality which we know now.

Some modern philosophers propose that we are all but figments of imagination. Truly, being unable to know the world except through our own perceptions, we could well live in a construct, for by Man’s means we can never escape the hard casing of our skulls to explore a world beyond the limits of the flesh. They, of all pagans unknowing the majestic truth of the Living God, may be closest of all to the reality, that we live in the mind of God, who was and is and still is to come, all that breathes and thinks and orbits, and yet above and separate from all that can be seen with the eye and grasped with the hand – immortal God.

We live at the Lord’s command, whether we follow Him or not. Rebel and disciple both, live at the grace of a merciful God, a God who as He lives, burns with righteous anger at a rebellious creation which defies the very nature of its origin, spitting on the good works and the good name of Him who breathed life into humble clay. If one will say, “Who is God to declare what is right and wrong? Who is God to choose who shall be punished?” – I say to thee, “Count what makes you right to discipline even your dog. What gives you authority over your children? Are they not living, thinking equals of you? What gives your children the right to eat at your table freely? Do they earn their keep? What is it that keeps them clothed and dry in a warm house, but your unwarranted love for them – in spite of and irregardless of their behavior? When they throw their tantrums and scream and cry, do you not discipline them? And when they have come to you for forgiveness, do you not forgive and forget, and embrace them even more warmly than if they had done nothing wrong in the first place?”

We are children before a loving Father, one who is not stern alone, but consumed with compassion for his suffering, wayward children – who do far worse than merely scream at their father or mother. We murder with our hearts, wishing harm on those who mildly inconvenience us on the road or cut in line. We lust with our primal organs, ravenous predators stalking the streets in the deceptive guise of happy citizens – restrained not by good morals, but by animal fear of the consequences for acting out our brutish desires. We slake the thirst of our crying souls on money, conveniences, entertainments of all kinds from the lowest of brows to the heights of sophistication, to darker twisted pleasures provided paid and free, in person or through the vast internet. We joke at the expense of those unable to answer for themselves, delight in expressing our opinions in the most creative of vulgarities, distracting ourselves from the painful light of higher truths by targeting our quests for wisdom on practical tips and tricks to quiet a tremulous heart which knows that it was made for so much more than perusing a hundred blogs on green tea and Buddhist meditative practices as interpreted by a professional connoisseur of cultural commercialization.

And we haven’t even touched politics yet. The titles and means of succession may have changed, yet still we rally around presidents and chancellors – elected kings of empires ruled by a collective dream. My thoughts on this remain for another essay, but suffice it to say – is it not an affront to the true King that we will so readily latch onto the words and scuffles of these petty rulers who are in one cycle and out the next, naught but a short tract in an already outdated high school textbook – and thusly ignore the ageless, ever-growing chronicle of the deeds of the one Lord of all lords?

I have spoken long enough. I am sure by now that I have either sufficiently dissuaded you from continuing to read my prattling, or that somehow my words have been efficacious. If it is the former, that is what I can only expect from the weak efforts of my fleshly mind. If it is the latter, then it is because what was read was different than what I wrote, and I can only thank God if what I have written here has helped anyone.

My desire is only this – that you, him, her, me, every soul which dwells upon God’s Earth, would have their eyes opened up to the Heavens, and that God’s Light might shine on His starving children and show them the way to not merely survive this life – but live into the next – and chase after Him who is Life who loved them enough to die for their rescue while they pelted Him with curses and nailed him to a cross. For all that God is Justice unflinching, He is also Love unending, and Compassion unsurpassed.

The Life of Weariness

You’re born.

You take your first breath. It’s the hardest thing you’ve done in your life to date, but there will be harder hills still.

You drink from your mother’s breast. In every way she cares for you. Her words slowly sink into your mind with your father’s when he’s home, and gradually, those words shape you – or do you fashion those words around yourself?

You grow up. Now gifted with a voice to name the brilliant spectrum of life which around you winds, it blasts by in an instant, as the autumn leaves before winter’s gales, which in their own turn die down before the chirping growth of spring, which bakes beneath the coming of summer at its own conclusion before once again the ripeness of the months of warmth crackle and age into those same, hoary colors of fall.

Now you’re an adult. Adolescences was a speedbump, a maelstrom of emotions and dramas which, on reflection as one now so matured by the seemingly purely biological processes of pubescence – seem irrelevant. Petty. Insipid. Meaningless.

Or perhaps they are your golden years? A fond time of fun, games, loose clothes and looser morals, to treasure in your heart as time slowly makes his inroads into your chest?

You study. You work. Whether they benefit you or not is entirely in your hands. Perhaps for a while you’re content merely to sustain yourself. It’s possible that a another human of an opposite form decides to cast his or her lot in with you, and you get married, have two and a half children – and now your life belongs to them. Or maybe you don’t. Perhaps you chase your loves as you did in youth, though the game gets surely harder as time crinkles your skin and mars your complexion, and the yearly flu lasts longer and longer each time it visits. It’s unlikely, but perhaps you abstain entirely. For what reason do you do this?

And perhaps on some dark, lonely night, long after those of your hearth and kin have fallen asleep, you sit up in bed, in the gloomy, silent house, and you wonder – why? For what do I work?

To play a little on the weekends? To keep this aging woman in my house? To raise up little ones after me to go through the same toils? To what end does Man labor?

For vanity.

For though you might have striven with great boldness and cunning, with even the noblest of hearts, to build up a palace for your kin and a throne in your place of work, when Sheol calls you into his embrace, to another you must hand your preciously crafted treasures. In time, your treasures will fade and depreciate, till all of your hoard which your children hold in their hands are crumbs of dust as they go out into the broken shell of a world to carve from the dust their daily bread, for who will feed them?

It is vanity.

For if the glory goes not to one who is eternal, the greatest that can be made of it is a footnote in a dust-gathering chronicle. The glories of the warrior-kings echo down the ages, reflecting off the hardened and bored ears of the teenagers subjected to a dully rendered retelling of the greatest struggles of men’s lives. The hardships endured by women and families – through siege, plague, famine, despair – all ring hollow in an age where bread is plenty, and yet the spirit starves for rest.

Ours is the life of weariness. Convenience cannot save the soul.

And so challenged in your heart of hears, what shall you do? Shall you strive to play it safe, extend your years until you can beat the game, and create something great to truly last down the ages? Shall you ignore the murmurs of your starving soul, and let your fleshly heart and all its lusty dukes rule your life while you eke out an existence of blissful subsistence?

Or would you cast all you had into fire, limbs and all to find that which will not only save you the ignominy of a meaningless, unremarkable existence among the seething mass of profane humanity from which all of us come – but secure you a place of joy and glory everlasting at the table of your Judge, Father, and Savior?

The price?

All glory be to Him who saves, for whose glory mercy was shown to the undeserving who would dare to slay his blameless messenger, the image of perfectified Man.

Humility before God. That is the price.

Desire’s War

I am still too long.
Again and again it comes,
like a war in the trench,
volley by volley,
an unceasing bombardment.

I fight, fight and die to myself,
Time and again and repeat,
chained to my rifle,
red from the fire,
rhe flesh minions,
soaking the ash-blackened soil.

Leave me be!
I will not stand
your presence-your
moaning wail
siren call
hellbound hail
I need none at all!
I need not your defeat;
There are no seats,
on the train of grace,
for your monstrous race.

Away with you, witch’s sprites,
temptresses and idols!
I do not want
your cheap trinkets,
half-minute pleasures,
short-stopped sensuality.
Your attentions are delicate
like the spider entombing her witless victim

God has set aside,
this one for greater glory;
He will not be had –
Neither Him nor His servant!

Chained to the Pyre

I love her — too much
Too much, too much, too much.
My passion burns in me
It afflicts me in sleep
In waking and at rest,
in my dreams, in my soul,
for her I burn.
I struggle against the chains,
But whose are they?
Have these I made myself?
Or have You placed these
that I might not stumble
into the irretrievable dark?

Lord, Take her place—
Consume me!
Make of my bones
kindling sanctified;
my blood — fuel
for the sacred pyre;
wreathe my head
in the sun’s flames;
set alight my lungs
with embers of holiness.
May my eyes burn,
shine and blaze a-filled
Full of light, of fire and
of grace and of joy;
The ashes of the old world feed
the green grass of the new.

May the saved dance upon Your weald,
rescued from their birth-destined pyre.
May I rest at last, there in your vale,
from these torments of the self.

Great is my God,
who saved from me myself.

For His Excellence, Labor

Lord, I am tired.
I desire to labor
but my mind is short
of the perspicacity
which I demand

Lord to what do I labor
Your greater glory I
desire above all else
If not in heart then
in mind — in cold, cold mind.

Oh Lord why does not
my heart beat for You
as it does for her?
Oh Lord — why, oh why
why oh does not Your spirit
flood my heart to wash
all away which displease
Your Holy Excellence

Lord purge me –
purify the small man – the
weak man – the
pauper who thirsts for You
No more strife, warless days
Lord, quickly, come!

Consumptor

Purge me of hunger
Not for bread
But for flesh

It gnaws       turns
tears      the screws
bites      ever tighter
twists     and tighter still
I want it gone!
No more         the flesh
Nevermore        as ash
It fades                  the cursed parasite
throbs and pulses and swells
like an abscess of desire
The hunger grows, devours
engorged upon itself till
it bursts and drains its human pus
into the mouth of Hell.
To Sheol it beckons me
a king and his son battled this beast and came to dun;
his name was David, son of Jesse
and his son was Solomon, Bathsheba’s son.
But they cast themselves upon Your mercy
They were spared the fire, though not the pain
and ascended they on high to rest
in Your Maker’s Hands.
Make it tremble, make it burn
Reduce it to ash
Put the flesh to the sword
and from the Consumptor’s gory pyre
arise the spirit saved to light.

First Post in Long Time

Turning over a new leaf. One of several, really. I can’t say that I will suddenly commit to regular postings, but any time I write something that’s not Top Secret Classified, I’ll probably post it or link it or say something witty or disgustingly self-deprecating about it.

So I wrote a chapter for a fanfiction about some crazy Slavic adventures in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. I may have written a post about this before.

The characters in the current chapter are Washer, a veteran stalker (read: Eastern European adventurer / treasure hunter in this sci-fi rendition of the Exclusion Zone) and gruff man of action, and Natasha Palinchak, a Ukrainian-born British reporter for BBC Documentary, on a film expedition to the Zone gone horribly awry. The story, as it goes, is of her adaptation to the Zone, and Washer’s heroic efforts to keep her from getting herself killed while himself not being killed by her ineptitude.

Here be the link to the new chapter, and a preview of it:

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12004094/4/Good-Morning-Chernobyl
“Alright, pop quiz, Miss Palinchak. What’s a safety, and what should you do with it?”
“It stops the bang. And you should keep it on until you’re ready to shoot someone.”
“Half credit. You should always be ready to shoot someone. Now, aim at the target I’ve set up at the end of the barn. You have eight shots to impress me.”
“Plus one in the chamber?”
“No, fresh magazine.”
She nodded and thumbed the safety off, then looked for the target. She saw only piles of hay, rusted tools, broken stalls, and the bones of farm animals long past. And Grisha’s body, leaned up against the barn door, strapped to the bar-hold with some moldy rope.
“I don’t understand. The door?”
“No. Our friend. Center of mass, less than 30 feet, unaware. Easiest shot you’ll get.”
“Unaware? He’s bloody dead.”
“What’s the difference? Shoot him.”
“No— no! He- have you no respect for the dead?!”
“Nor the living. Shoot him.”
“Cut the shit. He’s your friend!– Look, just— I’m not totally incompetent. Just let me shoot at a shovel, or hit a horseshoe or something.”
“–He’s also dead. And you will be too, if you can’t shoot a man-shaped target. Do I have to explain the psychology behind it?”
He saw the blank look on her face, and sighed heavily.
“So, in the old days of the Army, in the days when soldiers were just amoebous muck and not even dignified with being called frogfoots, they learned to shoot with bullseyes. Easy stuff, for volley fire. But as small-arms got more advanced, and aiming became actually important, military eggheads realized that soldiers which did perfect on bullseyes were actually terrible marksmen in combat, on the frontline or snipers. Can you guess why?”
“Stress of combat?”
“No, though that’s not a bad guess. It is because they were trained to shoot at colored circles, not people. They could easily hit the center at 300 yards, 4 out of 5 rounds. But they could not bring themselves to willingly shoot a human being center of mass, a much easier target.
“So, if you could shoot Grisha in the chest a few times, I’d be much more confident in your chances of survival.”
Natasha looked at the gun, then at Grisha, then at Washer, then back at the dead man.
“No.”
Washer shook his head and walked away. “Well, I won’t make you. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make her drink. I’m still not giving up on my payout, so thank your God that I’m a greedy bastard. We should probably get moving to stay—”
A gunshot rang out from Natasha, followed by a whimper from ringing ear drums and a thump as a body hit the ground. Washer turned and saw a dead tracksuit lying in the doorway of the barn, a spatter of bone and cranial matter on the door where his head had been.
Promptly, Natasha threw up. Not having anything in her gut but radioactive water, her vomit was mostly pond scum and frog eggs she’d accidentally swallowed.
For a brief moment, he was sickly amused by the irony of the situation. Immediately after, he heard guns being cocked, and a volley of Ukrainian profanity, shortly followed by—
He tackled Natasha into her vomit as the bandits outside lit the barn up with a hail of gunfire, 5.45mm rounds punching through the wood and sending wood shrapnel and lead fragments flying.
“Suka blyat, idi na khuy! Miss Palinchak, I would advise you to start crawling!”
“I am-I am you tit!” she yelled back in English.
“Hey, hold your fire, kurwa, stop shooting! Zdec turistka! Myi budem bogatymi! Obxodim patsany! You’re fucken dead, Washer!”