I keep seeing an old rugged cross,
Something about gain, something about loss,
Sometimes it shimmers with diamond glory,
Sometimes there is blood, and another story.
It keeps showing up, under the desert sky,
When my head grows heavy, a shimmering sigh,
A constant companion, though I cannot say,
Whether I’ll get a glimpse from day to day.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here,
I’ll turn back to the day when I stepped out in fear,
Began this trek through plenty and want,
Through wisdom and folly, through can and through can’t.
The wind ruffles my clothes and hair,
Flicks sand in my face and blinds me there.
At times it sends chills down my spine,
Makes life seem meaningless, a waste of time.
All the rivers that run, the streams that babble,
Can’t cleanse wasteland or wash away trouble.
As I stagger on through this endless terrain,
Am I walking a walk without lasting gain,
History winds around and around,
Does it lead anywhere, is it merely the sound
Of people being born and walking to death,
Leaving only the gasp of their very last breath.
I once thought myself as true and wise,
But this desert strips the scales from my eyes.
I come to a door, a means of escape,
So I go on through there’s a ghostly shape
Waiting to welcome me, offer me more
Than I’ve ever been offered in life before.
I’m handed a ticket to endless pleasure,
Yet it crumbles to dust like phantom treasure.
Lounging and lolling and pleasing each whim,
Leaves a vacuum, a restless longing within.
All I ever wanted was here,
Yet it sapped my energy, that was clear.
So I slipped away and set to work,
Made sure no one could call me a shirk.
I worked and laboured and built so hard,
Homes and castles, and a vast vineyard.
But far from making me good and whole,
It sucked out my heart, emptied my soul,
Once more the wind tugs at my clothes,
Seems to understand what nobody knows.
What is wise after all, what is folly indeed,
What is lust and envy, pride and greed.
The scales I was using seemed crooked and out,
Were never going to reveal what life is about.
I walk on and leave that place,
Come to a clock, and stare at its face.
Instead of numbers there are seasons on show –
A time to start breathing and a time to say no,
A time to plant and a time for digging.
For crying, for laughing, for dancing and jigging.
A time to build, destroy, and heal,
The times fly by, I don’t know what to feel.
A time to let go and time to take hold,
A time to shut up and a time to be bold.
A time for embracing and finding the lost,
A time for losing, and counting the cost.
The clock spins round and all I can say,
Is that life goes on, day after day,
After day, after day, after day, after day,
Was it going somewhere, would we just fade away?
War, hate, peace, love.
Going round, coming round, the push and the shove,
Eternity placed within our heart,
A sense of forever right from the start.
Nothing new, it’s already been,
We think we invent but others have seen
Our genius before in earlier clothes,
This is what the creator knows.
Rich and poor we all turn to dust,
Wise and clever, we’ve long been sussed.
Strong and weak both fade the same,
Is life nothing more than a loser’s game?
I walk on through battle, hate and war,
Guns that lead to less not more,
The lives traded for weapons sold,
The families wrecked beside this road.
The people slaving night and day,
For coins that barely pay their way.
And even those with gold to spare,
End up wondering what else is there?
If I trade my soul for all this stuff,
Is this world ever enough?
Or is there another currency?
Another world I’ve yet to see.
And did I mention through the gain and loss
I keep on seeing that wooden cross,
I have so much that’s stolen my story,
So what gives life its depth and glory?
There’s an oxymoron in this strife,
Dying to self might just bring life,
While diamonds, rubies, silver, gold,
Might only leave my spirit cold.
Fame and fortune, greed and pride,
Don’t seem to fix the ache inside.
With things I pile up like a wall,
I build a tower that might just fall
And crush the selfish gene in me,
Tip the scales so I can see
What makes for peace on this old earth,
The pain of going through new birth.
There’s time for everything you know,
But is there time for letting go,
Time to stop and start again,
To let the help and healing in.
I meet a man who knows the way,
Kneels and washes feet all day.
The tales of what will rock our world,
Are fairy stories, corners curled,
Old promises long since proved dire,
A raging, sour consuming fire.
This man has put the burning out,
His whispers drowning every shout,
Did I mention that old wooden cross?
The blood and glory, gain and loss,
This precious, subtle open door,
Where more is less and less is more.
This desert road has brought a choice,
A softly spoken tender voice,
Carried to me on that breeze,
And now I’m here down on my knees.
This desert road will travel on,
And though life’s screams will harrow on,
There’s a gentle song in night and day,
From the man who walks the narrow way.
To download a word document version click this line.
You have a great gift, Dave
Thank you Ann.