America, America, Wherefore Art Thou?

Adolescent legislators who mouth off too often
Wrestle with pigs in mud beneath the Dome,
The dirt and excrement do nothing to soften
Potbelly Senators who take commands from Rome.

Reps draft a bill that requires teachers to watch MASH
And a movie with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda,
Politicians wrestle and slug for donors’ cash,
And try to sell statues in the Rotunda,

The Prez invites them to the Garden for fruit punch,
Half grasp the fruit and punch their opponents
The other half nibble the Bill of Rights for lunch,
And the valet hands each guest a bill for the Garden’s rent.

Across the halls where secrets are kept in a sieve,
The eager Committees rack up points for their viewers,
All three of whom are trapped in rooms they cannot leave
In prison beds below the tunnels and the City’s sewers.

At the sacred Tomb of the Soldier Unknown
A family stands behind the rope and waves,
The soldier on duty thinks he hears a groan,
A rumble is heard as a body turns in its grave,

“America, America wherefore art thou?”
Over Arlington’s graves echoes a disembodied voice,
“You’ve traded common sense for mockers and Mao,
You’ve stabbed yourself, and the Marxists rejoice:

Remember pioneers who carved homes from wilderness,
City fathers, railroad builders, miners, the engineers
Of bridges and towers, doctors who alleviate distress,
Warm families, dedicated teachers, and balladeers,

Remember how you wanted government small,
So men had freedom and labored on their own
To build their lives, unimpeded, and rise or fall
On their pluck and luck, persistence alone,

Without a bureaucrat calling the shots
Or an obscure agency calling a halt
To complex construction as an afterthought
Or a big city law firm forcing a default.

Remember, America, your bloody humble birth,
When you fought off a king so you could self-rule
Under God, a beacon for the lands on the earth,
A center where great minds would come for school.”

And the Prez went home with his wife for a day,
And the family told their friends in paraphrase,
And the soldier marched and turned in perfect phase,
And the legislators stumbled home in a haze.

    ~Day Williams

“East Taylor Street” by Day Williams

“We must have richness of soul.”

To Margaret Muth
“A teacher affects eternity.”

Each sunrise brings me closer to my grave,
A chariot will bear me close to God,
And God will shed His grace and light,
White light, everlasting light.
“My God, my God, why did I forsake you?”
I’ll say at the Judgment Seat.
cold alone
before the Lord
who sits enthroned between the cherubim,
I’ll kneel and cry,
the fragments I stored against my ruin
a puff of smoke, a stench,
Yet, trailing aromas of roses,
the cherubim will fly near to comfort me,
four angels round my head
Who flutter and coo like human doves
And cover me with a coat of many colors,
And I’ll wonder, “Why do they care for me?
I did not expect them to sing to me,
Sweet voices, I thank them, most sweet voices.”

I am no good, fallen, a wilted rose,
expelled from Paradise Garden,
With only a carpenter’s blood to redeem me.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Tomorrow creeps in petty pace
with alarm clock, headline news,
and weather report followed
by elevators, escalators, debaters,
by titillaters and “See you laters.”
Traffic jams and diaper rash,

onion soup and diner hash
crush high school dreams
Like a walnut in a vise,
And parents’ dreams shatter
amid arthritis and Alzheimer’s,
In phone bills, tax returns, and business schemes.

Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

I will not follow the rich man
who stores his grain and goods in barns
for himself alone, or the prophet of floods and storms
who heaps despair upon despair,
cold mashed potatoes on a broken plate,
enough theology to make us hate.
Let the merchants of the earth
walk through midnight streets
outside the bankers’ walls
and the Halls of Congress,
as they weep and mourn for
their cargoes of gold, silver,
ivory, apes, and peacocks,
cargoes of cinnamon and spice,
of incense, myrrh and frankincense,
of wine and olive oil, cattle and sheep,
and bodies and souls of men.
I’d rather lift the fire and the rose
against the gathering storm.

They laid a friend to rest.
Professor said, “He was the best,
But could not conquer his demons,”
demons down under the sea
that downward dragged him, deep down
to mock the artist’s quest.
A lonely hunter,
he did not go gentle into his good night.
His arms pounded the hospital bed
as he shouted, “Them, them, them!”
and urinated on the white sheets.
His beer and Scotch nurtured
the delirium of the brave,
and every drink lashed him with more fearful visions,
Fiends that fell from heaven above
to pay his wages and prick his nerves.
While he threatened to burn
His life’s work−
Thirty thousand prints
of a world war, a nurse midwife,
a Spanish village,
a medical missionary,
a fishing village in Japan
poisoned by mercury in the waters,
and a walk to paradise garden−
the silver gelatin prints remain,
Heat emanating from a frying soul. He shunned the Love that would have made him whole.
Lust ingratiates himself in bars and offices,
Pride adorns herself for the shopping mall,
Greed clutches the dollar bills and the charge cards,
Envy covets the wife of a mayor,
Anger batters and bruises the teenager,
Sloth rolls over on the soiled bed,
And Gluttony has gulped the crumbs of cake and pie.
Young lovers kiss in bliss, and claim they’ll never die.

In the middle of my strife
I survived the Bronx, a lake of fire,
Left the wood-rose on its stalk,
And rented a place on East Taylor Street
near a casino where I carried, over my loins,
a belt of change, and walked
beside the slot machines
that whirred and buzzed and gobbled coins.
When called by God to write and rule world-wide,
My genius near to madness was allied
And Jesus’ blood had washed away my pride.
I wrote to join Earth,
with her thousand voices,
in praising God.
Try as I might,
I could not best the words,
Though I wrestled sleepless nights,
For, like a jackrabbit scared in the brush,
Sentences hopped and scooted away
From the meanings my heart would convey;
Adam’s dream,
toads in gardens with forbidden fruit−
In Spirit’s steps, in stroke and counterstroke,
The rose unfolded over flames and smoke.

The fire
throws shadows
on walls of caves
of ice
where the killer
the spot
on her hand, as the jet
down the runway, the whiskeyed pilot
on the dials,
to the generations’
howl and jazz, rock and rap.
Holy man strains to hear the truth in love
from a slow train that never fails,
that rejoices in the right.
Alive by faith, and not by sight,
The rose has grown near stalactites.

The bailiff’s known both love and hate,
And love’s in flames beside his gate.
Right with God and man (he tells his friends),
His house in order, his last will
and testament signed and locked away,
Dodging his emptiness, no sins to confess,
With moderate virtue and moderate vice,
He carries cargo to the South,
And the murals on the hull of his craft
Make children smile and strike angelic poses.
Steering clear of banks, stones and wild waves,
He cultivates his cargo of red roses,
Guiding the drunken boats that trade in slaves.
He hears no cries for help, sees none to save.

I am a cactus in the desert
Whose roots dig deep into the earth
For water, a pilgrim
Seeking the face of God.
Now that I drink from the source,
My buds will open.
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
While in the garden, pray,
Pray for the teacher paralyzed in bed,
Pray for the unborn girl
knit together in her mother’s womb,
Pray for the homeless mother
who lingers by the stove
at the Salvation Army shelter,
Pray for cures to diseases,
Pray for God-breathed words
that uplift the soul and spirit,
Pray that it’s not too late to seek a newer world.
Holy servants walk in light, as He is light,
And dare to dream of new roses,
To gather the bulbs from the hills
And plant them in the earth.

You are ignorant, as I am ignorant,
And I will not ignore you
Though you and I have failed to speak our loves.
What matters most is saving many lives.
What you love well remains, the rest is dross:
Time meets eternity upon the cross.
With work and vision we can forge a ring,
And set our hope on grace: Of this I sing.

~Day Williams

The Armor of God

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

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September 12: Abundance

Day Williams created this graphic depiction of this date.

September 12

Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine.
~Proverbs 3:9–10

I just need enough to tide me over until I need more.
~Bill Hoest (1926 – 1988), American cartoonist best known as the creator of the gag panel series, The Lockhorns and Laugh Parade for Parade.

Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth.’ “ So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah.
~1 Kings 17:13–16

Money is good, love is wealth.
~Doug Horton

1001 Quotations Money Matters Ben Franklin_3.2MB