DUST by richard keith carlton



“For dust you are
and unto dust you shall return.”
Genesis 3:19

How we lie to ourselves
or fill the mind with rally cries
and images of false expectations.
Read books of self-affirmation,
pretend we are more than what
we really are, which is dust.

No matter our place in life,
rarely will things ever change much.
And that is alright. Disappointment comes
in the false hope of being more than we
will ever be, were meant to be,
which for living things, is dust.

A weed standing in a garden
may wish to be a beautiful rose—
imagine itself draped in red velvet petals,
filling the air about with sweet aroma.
But will remain a weed in the garden,
until, like the rose, becomes dust.

If hope, even a small ray of it,
shines light for a moment in a life,
then let us be awash in such illumination.
Remembering always, that hopes and
dreams, may inspire a world weary soul,
and may vanish with a breeze, like dust.


© Richard Keith Carlton





Through the hours of a day—
the sacred hours of spirit and light.
before dawn creeps into the hallowed darkness
before even the birds rise and take flight,
the ancient words fill hungry hearts.
Prayers, poems, and songs of great kings,
spilled upon white pages littered in red and black—
wisdom for a life, nourishment for famished souls.
Remembrances of holy ones from long ago,
praises and lauds to the good God, to his Son.
Bread and wine, flesh and blood, the holy
sacrifice of love, offered for a world unworthy.
Through the hours, the sacred hours,
hope is found amid other hours of despair.


© Richard Keith Carlton




still is my heart
thoughts sleeping in mist
in the silence I lose myself

there is only this hour
all others have slipped away
never to be what they may have been

no cause to linger in memory
this hour holds no regret
slowly passing without threat or worry

day fades swiftly
swallowed in the deep maw of night
black velvet playground of stars

candles flicker
sweet aromas rising to heaven
on thin smoke trails of prayer

an offering of incense
from a soul in need of warmth
a spirit in need of light

in this hour
in the gentle silence of now
I find myself


© Richard Keith Carlton



shutterstock_166227581-660x350Not in speaking nor in many words written,
but in silence, the soul of a man finds peace.
For God’s holy whispers cannot be heard amid
the ceaseless noise of a fallen world.

The Master cannot tend to His pupil while
the subject flutters and twitters like a bird.
So it is well, that the student learn to be still,
for the soul so longs for his Master’s voice.

Be still then, amid the deafening clanging bells
tolling the hours of useless doubts and worries.
In silence and in solitude, away from the multitude,
will the soul of a man find its true worth.

Dim the glaring light of worldly intrusion,
close shutters of heart and spirit to the brash day.
Take shelter in the peace of sacred quiet—
in the cell of prayer keep vigil over the soul.

© Richard Keith Carlton

The Splendor of Night


In the evenings, as the sun dips behind the willows in the distance, and the colors of the day blend for a moment with the soft shadows of night, the sky is filled with nature’s artwork. An almost mystical feeling comes over me then. An overwhelming sense of inspiration fills heart and mind to create, if only within myself, something beautiful. Then night becomes complete, wrapping the sky in a velvet black cloak, while stars appear as legions of angels piercing that blackness with a billion tiny pin holes. The prince of heavenly lights enters this dark firmament.

The Moon. Warrior of the night sky. At times revealing only parts of himself, but most glorious his light when revealing the full magnitude of such celestial majesty. What artist on this fallen earth can paint such a scene as this, and not lose some of its purity, its natural, God-made wonder? I search for words as I tell of it now, but feel inadequate in my quest. For the Almighty needs no failing human words or images to describe His perfect artistry. It is enough to be inspired by it all. To watch in awe, and allow the splendor of night to inspire me to the depths of my very soul. I close my eyes and listen for the voices of angels…

Close your eyes weary pilgrim,
rest now in the arms of wonder.
Give no thought to morning’s song,
as evening falls gently upon you.
O weary soul, rest now, be still
as evening falls gently upon you.


© Richard Keith Carlton

FALLING AND RISING a letter to Francisco


Brother Francisco,

I do not understand myself at times. Here in solitude, this world of silence, interrupted only by occasional forays into the places of men for necessary provisions, I am yet conflicted in so many ways. Ways of heart, flesh, spirit and soul. Haunted by memories, good and bad, still so easily seduced and distracted by old temptations which have beset me, time and again, throughout my long history. I find in myself such contradiction, imagine myself as that double minded man of whom our brother James often spoke of to the brethren and sisters of the light.

Such a wretched man am I, knowing the good I wish to do, and yet so often, turning to things which I know hold no value whatsoever for my well-being. Perhaps the old devils of my youth will never tire in their quest, or perhaps their nefarious duty, to drag me in some way, or in any way, back into the dark caverns of forsaken debauchery. I pray in such times, that our dear Mother will in haste dispatch those better angels to rescue me from the flames of concupiscence that flit and flicker about my poor soul—hot little tongues of fire from the raging furnaces of hell.

I know, as I pen these words to you my brother, that you would tell me to rise up as often as I may fall. Especially in matters of the spirit and soul. To never surrender all to failure. And if there is any hope in my conflicts, it lies in the fact that indeed, no matter how often I fail, I do not wallow in the dust of self-pity long, and if necessary will crawl back like a wounded animal to the good ways. For in the end of each wasted day or each night of regret, we are never really alone.

Never do we have to fight alone battles in this life with enemies seen or unseen. We are children of grace. We are the offspring of mercy—all siblings in the family of forgiveness and redemption. Perhaps I should take the good and wise advice of those who consider sufferings of any kind to be blessings. One thing I know, one thing I have found to be true, in all my travels and many life experiences, is that those things learned in the school of adversity are never forgotten and are always most appreciated. So the conflict will continue, but by the grace of the Almighty, may I fall and rise with courage and wisdom, and never lose heart along my journey.

© Richard Keith Carlton