Plucking Beauty – A Poem About Life and Eternity

Plucking Beauty

I once plucked beauty
out of experience
serendipitously like wild flowers in the country,
delighting in what new joy
life was going to allow me to discover
and show off in vases upon my windowsill.

But my curiosity is stagnant
and often vanishes, jaded
over what I know I'll find -
that everything alive is already withering,
beautiful for an instant
but quickly crumbling to dust.

And yet, it is not beauty
that has changed.
It still shines as bright
as when the Logos called it
out of the void.
It is my limited vision,
this human decision
to make everything about me
and interpret the world
through selfish eyes.

In an instant gold is tarnished,
gifts become entitlements,
and beauty looses its brilliance
when it's used for self-indulgence.
I once looked for beauty
because I found you there.
You spoke to me out of your creation
like any great artist does.
Now I find myself tumbling off the path
and stumbling towards naturalism.

Beauty is not beautiful
because it is fleeting.
It does not speak to the human heart 
because it is temporary.
No. Beauty speaks because it's divine intuition,
nudging us towards the eternal reality,
reminding us that there is something
beyond the material world that 

Never dies,
Never withers,
Never decays,
Never says good-bye.

Life loses its luster
when our lives are reduced
to merely grains of sands
upon the beach of time.
The breath of God
resides within each one of us;
never lose sight of paradise.

-Justin Farley

Hello, everyone! I have recently published my first chapbook of Christian poems titled “A Voice in the Wilderness – A Chapbook of Poems about God”. This has been developed and polished over the past six months or so. I am happy with the final product and hope you find encouragement in the poems but also a validation that the spiritual life is not all sunshine and rainbows. We all struggle. We all have periods of questions and/or doubt. But it is the yearning that keeps us coming back for more and allows us to experience joy.
You can purchase either on Amazon or on my own bookstore (it is cheaper and has free shipping on my store) and is available on the Kindle and in paperback.
Amazon: Kindle Paperback
Inkspiration Books (my bookstore): Paperback

Thank you for your support!

The Mirror of Truth – A Poem

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The Mirror of Truth – A Poem

Into the mirror I gaze
and am wrapped within the frame
of a smoky haze of secrets swirling within glass.

I can’t deny the face,
can’t pretend I don’t know,
have no trace of realization that the figure before my eyes is me.

It’s unsettling to see the darkness,
to discover the demons in the flesh,
to witness my flaws, flogging me in the face.

Beneath this mask of pride,
there is a face scorched and seared
by lies, deceit, and by the heat of betrayal.

I know the image I wish to see,
I know the reflection my heart believes;
but within me is a darkness I prefer not to acknowledge.

The mirror of truth does not lie,
does not flinch when it brings onlookers to their knees,
does not hide delusions, but pierces the veil of our ego.

The mirror of truth is a loving master,
a humbling stone meant to trip our feet,
a pastor to turn us towards joy and away from the bonds of slavery.

I may not like the face that stares back at me,
I may not like the icy eyes, the lips of pride,
but I have the opportunity to reconstruct my image.

Morning sun, be my witness –
when you lay down to rest tonight, the flames may remain
fueled by my darkness, but will crackle beside the waters of love and grace.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: De lujo y miseria via photopin (license)

Build Within Me A Foundation of Thanksgiving – A Poem of Praise to God

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Build Within Me A Foundation of Thanksgiving – A Poem of Praise to God

May your rays of righteousness
pierce through the clouds and shadows of my heart.

May my mind give way to your fruit –
take up your shears and prune these vines that ensnare me.

Give thanks, give praise to the tree of life,
whose branches stretch out into infinity’s depths.

Give thanks, give praise to the tree of life,
whose leaves cover and provide shelter from worldly strife.

May wisdom flow like a river, filling my well –
knowledge of you soothing my parched lips and restoring my soul.

May I not walk by the power of my own two feet,
but make the journey through life on my knees, yielding to your majesty.

If I find nothing to be grateful for, nothing to praise you for,
surely my eyes are closed like curtains to the light of morning.

If my ears do not hear your name praised throughout the forest,
surely I am deaf to the songs and melodies of mother nature.

Build within me a foundation of thanksgiving –
a cornerstone on which my heart and soul rests.

Build within me an unquenchable thirst to praise your name,
never ceasing to be marveled by the brilliance of your glory.

Still the river of desire that flows through the heart of man,
unceasingly paddling down torrential waters, never satisfied, never able to rest.

Still the winds of lust, of jealous breezes,
our noses consistently sniffing for scents trying to sense what we don’t have.

Let our hearts not beat for what we’re missing,
but become firmly grounded in the grace which we already have.

Let our hearts not beat for foolish wishes,
but boil over with thanksgiving for your endless bounty and be glad.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

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)

An Ode To Joy – A Poem About Hope

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An Ode To Joy – A Poem About Hope

It is joy that spreads its wings
and meets me in the midst of my melancholic musings
and carries me through despair.
Pain does not disappear,
but is transcended by a power mightier
than the trappings of the mind
and the preaching Pity pouts from depression’s pulpit.

Joy is not the elixir of pain,
but the medication for madness,
the harvester of meaning in the grips of sadness,
that hoists the spirit high in the heavens
handing over a hope undaunted by trials,
compiled over seasons of faith
where each surrender was followed by deliverance.

Joy is the bright, morning star
that shines in the darkness –
the light that leads you through the land of the lost
and pierces the longest midnight.
Happiness is but a foolish endeavor,
inclined to be swept away,
stolen like a thief in the night,
gone without a trace from which it came.
But joy is a resistant flame
that burns both night and day.
It does not recede, but leads come what may.

Joy is the force infused through the victor
knocked down by the world face down on failure’s doorstep,
who refuses to lose, gets up again
and wins despite the odds.
We blindly search for happiness
down every drunkard’s alley,
down every dead-end street,
and in the end only meet further pain.

This world can never trap happiness,
but only manage to grab him by his tail
for a brief moment before he scurries away.
Hang onto the rare opportunities
to catch a glimpse of him,
but don’t try to make a fleeting feeling
A constant companion.

Joy smiles when the world frowns,
laughs when the world knocks you down,
dances in the depths of depression,
and sings in the silence of solitude.
It is not built on transient times,
but an external hope that transcends the present reality.

– Poem Written by Justin Farley

If you enjoyed this post, I would greatly appreciate it if you like, share, or comment on it. Follow my blog to receive notifications when new posts are published. You can find my other Christian poems, Lent poems, or inspirational poems at https://alongthebarrenroad.com/category/poetry/


 

photo credit: Pôr do sol no Rio Paraná via photopin (license)

Searching For Happiness in the Wrong Places

4796771840_f1321d4004Why is it that we have such a hard time letting go of physical wants and desires? Humans have been searching for happiness in all the wrong places for thousands of years and probably will for thousands to come, while history has shown time and time again that success and riches do not make people happy. They may provide temporary relieve, but quickly fade out. And once happiness is gone, it actually makes us even more depressed because we put all our hope in our money and success, and it failed us. I believe this is the reason that so many celebrities struggle with substance abuse, mental illness, or even commit suicide. They, just like most of us, had a “if only I was…” or “when I…” goal in their heart and a way to fix the pain they were feeling. Well, they got what they thought would bring them happiness and are still unhappy. They were once unhappy, but hopeful; now they’re just unhappy and hopeless.

God is the only thing that doesn’t change, always stays the same, and who we can find joy in regardless if times are good or bad. Most of us don’t have a problem with adding God into our quest for happiness, but we still want to be the one calling the shots. And that’s where our problem lies. We want to use God as a backup plan for happiness. We want his grace, but we don’t want to let go of our idols.

I don’t believe there is a desire shortage for God in our world; it is that we have an apostasy problem. We want God, but we don’t quite trust him, so we add in worldly beliefs and deviate from doctrine as insurance in case God doesn’t come through. And then we wonder why our lives are not “radically transformed” and “radically changing”. It’s not because he failed us, but because we failed him. Just as we don’t want any part of a relationship with multiple lovers on the side, God doesn’t want our smorgasbord of religion, desires, personal success, self-help where I’m in charge, and worldly goals. He promises to drive us to the destination and that he knows where he’s going (even though in the moment it may seem like he’s lost) but first we have to awake from our self-serving sleep and hand over the keys.

Waking From Sleep

Awake!
Arise from your restless sleep
And put aside the dreams of old.
Offer up your precious copper idols
And receive an inheritance tenfold.

Do not lull yourself back into emptiness
Listening to lullabies that speak of false promises,
Designed to deceive feeble, infant babes.
For when has there ever been a day
When greatness visited a man
And rested on his lap while sleeping?

Temporary riches? Maybe.
But not the richness of character
With the ardor and strength to not rust
Or weather when the storms come.
And don’t attempt to fool yourselves –
They will come.
But will you be ready?

In your napping,
Desires have warped and deceived your mind,
Believing that the temporary and fleeting
Have a fighting chance of alleviating
An eternal need, A starving seed
That resides in your breast,
Yearning to be watered with meaning
In fields of nothingness.

In your drunken stupor,
You’ve let the weeds
overtake your garden with their deception
And run amuck.
Now their dirty hands are clutched upon
Your crops’ throats –
Who are choking and grasping for air.

Do not search the physical for your yearning –
You won’t find joy there.
For it quickly dries up and disappears
Under the sands of time.
But the spiritual is never-ending
And unable to be understood by the minds of mankind.

Awake!
Arise from your restless sleep
And put aside the dreams of old.
Offer up your precious copper idols
And receive an inheritance tenfold.

 

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

If you enjoyed this post, I would greatly appreciate it if you like, share, or comment on it. Follow my blog to receive notifications when new posts are published. You can find my other Christian poems or inspirational poems at https://alongthebarrenroad.com/category/poetry/


 

Photo Credit: isho via Compfight cc