Life’s Amphitheater – A Poem About Helping the Less Fortunate

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As I was driving down the road the other day and came to a stoplight, my eyes fell upon a young woman begging on the side of the road. I must admit that often times I am quick to judge out of pride or wonder why they are too lazy to pick themselves up and get a job or get help for their addiction. Often times I put the blame on their shoulders and often times it may be. But that woman’s image flooded my heart with sympathy – her head was hung low, and it was clear that she was ashamed of herself and her situation. I found myself wanting to write her story…and not just hers, but for all those struggling in the world without a voice.

It is easy to judge, but much harder to place ourselves in the shoes of another. We all have issues we wish to keep hidden in the safety of our hearts and minds. And what we often times attribute to our strength, our character, or our success has nothing to do with our actions, but only the grace of God.

What would your life look like without loving parents, a loving spouse, a warm and safe home; without teachers, mentors, and other positive influences? What would your life look like if you were abused as a child, afraid of going home after school, or knowing there wouldn’t be anyone there to ask you how your day was or help you with your homework? What would your life look like without someone to help you through college, without an employer who was willing to take a chance on a young intern, without a friend to pick you up all the times you fell? I don’t know, but I think it would do us all a little good to keep our judgments hushed and our hearts open to the stories of the less fortunate people around us.

Life’s Amphitheater – A Poem

Sing a song for the brokenhearted
Whose hopes were snatched away like a thief in the night;
For those who’ve been burnt by the flames of love,
Their hearts charred and scarred no longer with the will to fight.

Sing a song for the prince of pain
Whose sorrows cast shadows upon the skies.
Sing, sing for the once crowned king
Whose tears fall like rain from dismal eyes.

Sing a song for fairy tales lost.
Reality stings like salt on an open wound.
Yesterday’s hours were filled with childhood play.
Oh, how the years pass away much too soon.

Drum a dirge for the divorcee,
Who was ill-equipped to hear the secrets that fell upon their ears.
The soul shatters like sheet of glass
When reality reflects the realization of your deepest fears.

Drum a dirge for dying dreams
That have been abandoned for monetary pursuits.
To live a life never meant for our hearts
Is is pull up your essence and chop it off at the roots.

Drum a dirge for the desolate and deserted
Who hobble hopelessly, begging on downtown streets.
Do not be quick to judge a stranger
Until you pick up their bags and take a ride in their seat.

Belt out a ballad for the afflicted,
For the addicted, and for the anxious minds.
Have sympathy for the struggle you might not understand,
For we each carry a story we wish to leave behind.

Belt out a ballad for the sick and suffering;
Share their tale of sadness and woe.
A kind smile and gentle hand is often the only demand
To make somber faces delight and glow.

Belt out a ballad for the fatherless,
Familyless, and utterly alone
Whose story goes untold, lost
Sinking to the bottom of life’s ocean like a heavy stone.

Have pity on the less fortunate people
Whose notes resound throughout life’s amphitheater.
We are all apart of one beating force,
One united, cosmic voice; one rhyme, one rhythm, one meter.

-Poem and Content Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: Hard Times via photopin (license)

The Clouds of Mourning – A Poem About Depression and Pain

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As we go through life, there are inevitable seasons where it seems the skies are always cloudy, always raining, and the forecast will never change. Anyone that has ever dealt with depression (or any mental illness for that matter) knows that it is like a ghost that haunts you no matter where you go or how hard you try to hide from it. Fight all you want, but you can never defeat the forces of darkness with strength alone. In these times of darkness and pain, how do we keep moving forward? How do we resist the temptation to give up and let the pain of life suck everything from our soul?

Typically, telling yourself to “cheer up”, “suck it up”, “pick yourself up”, or having someone else tell you to stop feeling sorry for yourself only makes matters worse, and I believe does a disservice to our heart. Deep depression is not an easy thing to fix, and the reality is that sometimes there are circumstances in our lives where the only appropriate response is to mourn and cry. And sometimes we need that time to just embrace the issue and recognize that it is ok to feel pain. But how do we not drown in that pain?

I believe the only way we can move forward is by grasping hope and refusing to let go. It might not get better today, it might not be tomorrow, but as long as there is hope that things will get better, the ghosts of depression are unable to penetrate our locked doors and totally possess us.

The Clouds of Mourning – A Poem About Depression and Pain

The clouds of mourning
Hang and hover over me
Like ghosts – translucent,
Yet allowing only darkness to pass through.
Their pale gray sheets flap and flutter
In the breezes of life,
Dimming and drowning out
All traces of light.
Their wails send nails
Falling from the sky,
Raining down and driving like hammers;
Pounding their melancholic clamors into my heart.

My palette is stained,
Soaked in ashen gray paint.
Non-washable, permanent and persistent;
Resistant to the colors I attempt to cover with my brush.
The clouds of mourning
Flood my skies like ghastly Dementors,
Following me through the hours
And sucking at my soul one minute at a time.

Sweet angels,
Have you lost the fight to the terrors?
Have your hallowed halos burnt out like smoking embers
And lost their luster and glow?
Where are you hiding
In this dark and stormy night?
Where are your shields and swords,
Why are you overwhelmed by the demons of darkness,
Why do you refuse to fight?

What weapons do I pick up
To fend off forces invisible and invincible?
Is there an amulet I can hang over my heart to keep out
The ghouls that pass uninhibited through locked doors?
The icy rain covers my window pane
In sheets of tears running down in streams of solitude.
Winter’s wrath bars my path
And leaves me shivering in the cold wondering what to do.
The clouds of mourning
Hang and hover over me
Like ghosts – translucent,
But hope shall be my exorcism.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: Titanic via photopin (license)

Growing Pains – A Poem

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Growing Pains – A Poem

Why are these dreams that stretch out across my heart’s field of desire,
That glisten Like droplets of drew sparkling on the morning grass,
So hard to obtain, so hard to take to take hold of,
And so hard to lasso and pull close to reality?
The burden is bearing the tragedy of it all,
Knowing what you want, what you need,
Lies just beyond the forest and through the trees,
But you seem unable to put those desires into action.
So often I’m fixated on distractions that pull me off-course,
And get me lost on side paths instead of trekking onward
Towards goals, aspirations, and destinations.
It drives a person mad, carrying around bags of frustrations,
Grueling through labor day after day,
Counting the minutes, knowing there has to be another way.
But the Way is left without footprints, often prepared for
But never ventured and what’s left of hope slowly fades away.
There’s a demon inside of me that seems unable to be controlled,
Scoffing at dreams, content to let life pass me by,
Trampling on schedules, and consistently cursing meaningful causes.
Claws strike out at my fingers each time
I reach out to grasp my true potential.
I now know the paved road to success doesn’t exist.
You must venture through the dense forest,
Fight through the clinging vines, and thrash through the sticks.
No, to journey with intention is no vacation,
And the mess inside me, always attempting to misguide me, is no easy fix.
But the trail to nowhere is covered by countless footprints
And paved with the trampled dreams others have left behind.
The alarm clock beckons.
Wisdom speaks.
My souls shrieks.
But for some reason I have yet to understand,
I hear, but refuse to listen.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


photo credit: After the rainfall via photopin (license)

Eclipse – A Poem

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Eclipse – A Poem

Two sides of a conflicting coin
Flip like faces in a dramatic act.
Two intricate and separate forces entangle
In a bitter struggle, leaving Earth cloaked in black.

How can such a powerful light
Be smothered by such a small, sinister hand?
A visceral visual of what evil can accomplish
When given the freedom to take root in the heart of man.

In a matter of seconds the cosmos is silenced
By the veil of darkness and death.
The yang captured beneath the yin’s net;
Hope and light suffocating and gasping for breath.

What once was so beautiful,
Shining in the sky’s endless sea,
Has now turned into a lifeless puppet,
Bound and animated by dark, dominating strings.

You were once a blazing beacon –
A fire of hope that lit up my nights.
But now, my once glorious sun,
You’ve laid down, surrendered, and given up the fight.

I only hope this is but an eclipse
And shortly you’ll come forth from hiding behind the moon.
For life is but a quick, short breath
And will not wait while you wallow woefully in your room.

Two opposite forces fight
In the face of the atmosphere;
The moon is not a worthy opponent
But kills all light when the sun hides in fear.

The moon hangs with no power,
But becomes master when the sun submits.
Defy the rebellion, do not yield to your captor.
Emerge as the victor in your heart’s eclipse.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

photo credit: Lunar Eclipse via photopin (license)

Beauty’s Battle – A Poem About Endurance and Fighting Fear

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Beauty’s Battle – A Poem About Endurance and Fighting Fear

She sits engaged in a battle
Beneath the shadow of her own face,
Slowly conceding to her own demons
Brought back by their blows, crushed beneath their weight.

She wonders what’s the use in trying
When defeat has already been secured?
For what’s left of the light is dying
And her heels dangle on the verge

Of Darkness’s valley where fear stands ready
With open jaws, salivating for an easy feast.
But quick, girl, stand firm, armed, and steady.
Don’t give them the satisfaction of seeing you kneel at their feet.

Remember where your heart lies.
Remember your true desires not corrupted by fear.
Remember the beauty that resides beneath your blue eyes.
Remember why it is I’m still here.

There’s a flame that still flickers.
Feed it with love, faith, courage, and hope.
Know that of all the muses that have flowed from my fingers,
You’re the finest that’s ever wrote.

She pauses for reflection
And slows her breath to a stable inhale.
Suddenly, it comes to her attention
That this shadow of darkness is nothing but a paper-thin veil.

She rises boldly like an Amazon warrioress to her feet
And quickly takes aim with her bow.
Defiantly refusing to retreat,
Deciding she’s had enough of fear’s pain and woe.

The battle is not over.
She remains engaged beneath her beautiful skin.
But she’s set on never allowing herself to roll over,
And allowing the shadow of fear to win.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

Reflections – A Poem About Character Flaws

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Reflections – A Poem About Character Flaws

The extent of my weaknesses are revealed
Beneath the weight of uncertainty.
I am often a self-absorbed child,
Believing that time and even the world itself should stop for me.
My futile fury of feeble insecurity
Is shocking and pries open my eyes
To inner flaws I was blind to.
Every ounce of energy, every vision conceived,
Is spent looking at me.
My expectations of others come as extensions of myself –
Unrealistic and dotted with traces of perfectionism.
Resentful if they do not meet the mark I have set
And if their opinions do not match my own
Because obviously if they are not mine,
They are clearly wrong.
Selfishness seeps from the wounds
That loving another opens and inflicts.
Selfishness insists that I must control
Instead of allowing things to let live.
These defects of mine are amplified
Under the pressures of patience,
Consciously trying to tame the darkness inside,
But at the same time fed up with waiting.
Perhaps we are given circumstances
In which at first sight appear cruel and unnecessary
To stretch the muscles of our soul,
To open up the doors of the closets
We’ve been allowing our demons to hide within,
And to act as a catalyst for change.
Each day I’m learning more about this man
And the wrongs of his ways.
But patience and love has become a mirror
In which I’m able to see an accurate reflection of myself.
I can say with certainty that much of what I see
I do not like.
But every day is an opportunity.
Each moment is a new medium
In which I determine the image I am reflecting to the world.

– Poem Written by Justin Farley

photo credit: yo yo yo via photopin (license)

Patience – A Poem About Waiting and Trusting in God’s Timing

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Patience – A Poem About Waiting and Trusting in God’s Timing

The agony of waiting, watching the hours
Drains my power and leaves me bitter
Filled with battered pride and endless angst.
But just as it takes a season to cultivate a flower,
I must keep a steadfast heart and wait.

My deepest failure is relying on my own two hands
To control, conquer, defend, and prevent defeat.
For when I am solely responsible for the success of all life’s plans,
My heart lies anxious constantly, consciously looking
To deter life’s inevitable outcomes with each and every beat.

It is in waiting, humbly praying, admitting
That you and you alone know the matter of my fate,
That my anxious and impatient heart can rest
Trusting you know what’s best and patiently, pridelessly wait.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


photo credit: Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience via photopin (license)

Second Star To The Right – A Poem About Losing Childhood Innocence

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Second Star To The Right – A Poem About Losing Childhood Innocence

My sanctuary of sanity
Dresses in new robes everyday.
Joyfully furnishing new rooms of solitude
Only to find the door locked the very next day.

The storm clouds gather, grow like weeds –
Stubborn and unable to be wrought out.
Their rains fueling, feeding the pain
And ensuring the sun’s rays are forever shut out.

Time is like a wagon wheel, spinning on an axle
Moving faster with every step I take.
Youth becoming a long, lost memory
But a destination my heart can’t seem to shake.

I remember the smell of fresh magic that hung heavy on the air
And its breath scattering seeds of imagination with the breeze.
Playful, not paralyzed by the clenching grip of reality,
Lost in imaginary battles and climbing high to the tops of trees.

But the roots of innocence were poisoned –
Decayed into fragments of nothingness years ago.
Left only a restless, aching heart
And a mind hinged on worldly woes.

Where do we go to find the fairy tales,
The myths, the fables that sowed towering dreams
Now that the reality of fate is unveiled
And the threads of time are splitting at the seams?

Is there a place for a Lost Boy
Living among grown up dreams?
Has my trip to Neverland been permanently delayed?
For the second star to the right can no longer be seen.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

When Trouble Comes – A Poem About Faith and Enduring Life’s Pain

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When Trouble Comes
A Poem About Faith and Enduring Life’s Pain

Evening’s crippling darkness passes away.
It’s distant vigor muted by the beauty of the morn.
Hope shines forth from the sun’s mighty rays,
A new spirit within us is born.

I am not overburdened by life’s troubles.
Though painful, they will not shackle nor strangle me.
For it is within each of my daily struggles
That provides growth’s greatest opportunity.

When the seas of my demise arise
And the wake of fear crests beyond the levee’s peak,
Faith persists and finds a way to uphold and drive
Me just beyond the tide of trouble’s reach.

We are neither all dark nor light –
In this lifetime we’re destined to reside somewhere in-between,
Constantly conscious of the ongoing fight,
Casting our character in each and every one of life’s scenes.

We can’t prevent the sun from sleeping,
Nor hide from life’s inevitable dark and lonesome night,
But we can cling to a hope never fleeting,
When joy seems unattainable and out of sight.

We are all flawed petals –
Rough and unperfected beings blowing, swayed by life’s breeze.
Yet, it is in consistently choosing not to settle
That we become beautiful flowers and not merely dormant seeds.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


photo credit: But I’ll push myself up through the dirt via photopin (license)

The Fight – A Poem About Conquering Fear

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The Fight – A Poem About Conquering Fear

You can cast your shadow across my future,
Across every step that approaches every opportunity, every opened door.
Try to tear down the walls of my confidence,
And attempt to convince me that I was never meant for more.

You can startle me with your swiftness,
Visit me whenever and however you please.
But I, and I alone must give you the power
To break me and to send me to my knees.

You have dwelt within every human heart,
And every human mind since the dawn of time,
Making the mundane feel like destiny,
Slowly dying, slowly binding us as prisoners of the grind.

Your power is as limitless
Or as limited, as I will it to be.
For the only person who can choose to make you master
Is the man who resides inside of me.

I will not give approval to your veil of darkness,
Nor give you bricks to construct your castle walls.
What you build up I will tear back down with action.
You may knock me down, but I will get back up when I fall.

Fear, I am marking you as my enemy –
Right here, right now, this instant, not tomorrow, but today.
For I have dreams that I must tend to,
So pack up your “what ifs” and get out of my way.

Keep coming at me with your terrors if you like,
But my place in the corner is now a vacant cell.
This heart will no longer hide from failure,
Nor choose safety over walking through the fiery hell.

I choose my destiny,
I choose to hold my dreams as a beacon in the night.
For the impossible becomes possible
The day we choose to defy you, the day we choose to fight.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


photo credit: DSC_0104 via photopin (license)