thin curtain

There is a curtain, a thin shroud like cloth, between
the glories of heaven and the toils of earth.
It is a scant divider, yet as thick as a dense forest
to our limited visions of the here and beyond.
The other side of the curtain, the realm of supernatural,
seems such a mystery to us who wander a brief time
on natural plains of flesh and blood, who like passing
shadows dart here and there across the brick walls of
our three dimensional perceptions of life’s realities—
believing and accepting only what can be seen or touched.

Sadly, we refuse to see the fragile thread of mortality given us.
Which can be easily snatched away in the blink of an eye.
We walk in blind denial, that it is only a matter of time
before we depart the natural world for the supernatural—
before we pass through a thin curtain between time and eternity.
But pass through we shall, each of us, in a designated hour.
And no matter our beliefs, or denials of a life beyond this,
one day, for better or worse, we will pass through that thin
curtain, where the natural becomes the supernatural.


© Richard Keith Carlton




I am no longer interested in the dance of earth.
Let the sky and trees take my place, and dance merrily
with scattered stones caked with moss, in blissful folly.
This aging pilgrim has at last set his heart and mind
on things of God, of that glory awaiting beyond the
fickle clouds which change from gray to blue and back again.
Long did I dance in fields littered with vain glorious stones—
with lighthearted and careless creatures without concern.
Until my body, tired and weary, fell upon the ground of
consequence and necessary retribution.

How can I dance now? How can I play earth’s fool
when the songs filling my heart inspire me to dance
in the court of angels and saints? I would rather play the
jester in that court, than play the fool in the dark and cold
court of humanity. I shall not perform for shallow hearts,
but offer the songs of my life, of my spirit and my soul to
the King and Queen of hearts! For even in that mystical court
of beauty and goodness, the jester is hailed as a prince.
May the dance of earth continue without me. I have chosen
to close my ears to the tuneless melodies of humanity.


© 2017 Richard Keith Carlton

A KNIGHT’S PRAYER / For the Queen of Heaven and Earth by Richard Keith Carlton



Hail to thee, Mother of sorrows,
Mother of the Word Incarnate.
I pledge to thee, O most chaste,
Virgin ever, Immaculate One—
all that I am, all that I will ever be!
In thy heart, may my heart dwell,
from thy faith, may mine be blessed.
In thine obedience, might I learn
to obey my King and merciful Lord.

Guide me along the path given to me,
lead me always toward righteousness.
Protect me in battle, tend to my wounds
should I fall or stumble in my ways.
To thou, Holy Mother of God, to thou,
my Queen, I give my life, that thou
may present me worthy and acceptable
a servant, to the King of might and glory—
a knight humble, in the service of heaven.



© Richard Keith Carlton



We stand on the wall, wounded sentries,
on the wall between heaven and earth.
Stand in the gap, watching ever, praying
for those near and far, loved ones, and friends,
too busy in their lives to know concern for
the state of their souls. In silent vigil at times,
and at others, pleading in desperate voices
to the far gates of heaven.

We are many, and diverse in our states of life.
Some have not fared well in life’s journey—
failures in the blind eyed standards of this world.
Which sees only the now, with little or no thought
of eternal things, those things of God and of soul.
Whether old and young, rich or poor, healthy, or
infirmed, joyous or broken, we stand on the wall.
Gazing across pale, blighted fields of earth,
into the deep blue skies of eternity.

We rise at dawn, donning the armor of God,
light candles in darkened rooms, smoke trails
rising upward, as incense of ancient days, sweet
aromas of praise and supplication to the Holy One.
And through all hours, whether of faith or of doubt,
pray for those hearts dear to us, for the world, and
for those who have passed from these mortal plains,
and suffer for a while in valleys of necessary purging.

Out of the depths we cry to you, O Lord! Cry for mercy—
sentinels of the dawn, we cry to you Lord. Not for our
own welfare, but for those we love, for those who have
forsaken or forgotten you, those who have rejected you,
those who have offended you, those who despise you.
O gracious and merciful God, hear our voices and give
ear to the appeals of your wounded servants—
soldiers in the rain, standing firm, ever vigilant.
Watchers on the wall, between heaven and earth!


© Richard Keith Carlton




“I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
~ Matthew 18:3

Lord, let me become a little child before You.
As when I was a boy I would trust my father and mother
completely, without hesitation, for all that I needed.
So now, Lord, here in the winter of my years, shall I
be little before You. Trusting with the heart of a child,
loving You, without thought or hesitation, without any
doubt that You also will love me.

O God, how the years of toil in this old jaded world,
leave such a stain of dirt and dust on soul and spirit.
We become so world-weary, and heavily burdened by
daily tasks and duties, we forget how simple life can be.
Forget to love freely, with all abandon to self and vanity.
Days turn to nights, nights become years, and the little
ones within us are sent to live in cold rooms of shadow.

Now, dear Lord, I am long-lived, and have seen so much
of the world, I long to release the child within me to run
free once more—to play joyfully in the fields of the saints,
to run and leap into Your arms as once I did gleefully into
the arms of my earthly father and mother. Long to trust in You,
without lofty thoughts and tedious theologies, but as a little boy,
loving with all my heart, my heavenly Father, and Mother.

Age may have wearied the body, but not the spirit and soul.
For now, as I consider the fleeting nature of life, I give myself
to You, as never before, with all my fragile heart, my troubled
mind, my sagging spirit, and hungry soul. I run to You, Lord!
Wishing only to be close to Your heart, to have You hold me
close to You, nestled in the arms of peace and safety.
The little wayward child, finding his way home, to You.

“I want you to be very little, because when you are little,
I carry you close to My heart.”
~ Jesus to St. Faustina
(Diary, 1481)


© Richard Keith Carlton

I MET A MAN / The Conversion of St. Matthew

st matthew

In the village square, I met a man
much younger than myself.
He asked me for some water,
for he had traveled very far.
I filled a wooden cup to the brim
and handed it to the stranger.

He sat on a stool in the shade
and watched as I counted coins
given in taxes from the townsmen.
I dared not stuff any in my pouch
for I knew he would notice such.
I turned to see if he was still there.

Then I remembered who he was.
My friends had spoken of him and
said he was a man of many wonders—
a holy man some had said, a worker
of miracles and touched by God.
But I knew of no such men on this earth.

then he spoke…

“Are you happy in your work, brother?
Understandably, being reviled by all
for taking their hard earned wages,
must be an unpleasant task.
And yet, someone must do it.
But are you happy?”

I turned sharply to answer this beggar,
but the peace in his eyes offered no harm.
And I noticed the trace of little smile
as he sipped once again from the cup.
“Yes sir, “ I answered,
“Someone must do it. Why not I?”

He arose from the stool…

“Do not take offense my friend,
I did not come here to judge you.”
He moved closer to me and placed
his hand gently on my shoulder.
“I just wondered if you were happy.
That is my only concern for you.”

Now his smile broadened and his
eyes twinkled in a wonderful manner.
And then, in the passing of a moment,
my heart filled with a quiet joy and peace.
“Then why did you come?” I asked.
“To save you.” he answered.

Then he whispered in my ear…

“Come, follow me.”

At that, he turned and walked away.
As I watched, a huge throng of people
gathered closely around him, touching
even the hem of his tunic, calling his name.
Something stirred, deep inside of me.
Without another thought, I left my work,
and tossed every single coin high into the air…

and then I followed him.


© Richard Keith Carlton


flower and the king pic

“Forget days so long ago past,
remember no more, things of old.
Rise and blossom, little flower,
for I am doing a new thing in you.
Now it springs forth as a bud
opening to the light of dawn.”

O Lord, King of Mercy unfathomable,
I do not feel like a flower, but more
as a helpless leaf blowing in the wind.
Carried here and there, buffeted ever
on swift breezes of sorrow and tears.

“You are not a leaf blowing in the wind.
You are like a flower with its buds tightly closed,
but inside the seed of faith waits to burst forth.

King of Mercy, I trust in You. Help me to trust more.
Pour down the sweet dew of Your graces upon
this little flower, and the seed of faith You have
planted in me, may grow into a beautiful garden.
So that all who see me, may see You in me.

“Soon you will blossom, your petals reaching to the sky,
to the sun, to receive the warmth of My Love for you.
But remember little one, a seed cannot plant itself,
nor can a flower call down nourishing rains from heaven.”

If you see me Lord, as a little flower, then perhaps
it would be better were I uprooted and separated from
the choking weeds of this worldly garden of toil.
Would I then, O Lord, grow as you would wish?

“Be content to bloom where you have been planted.
In time, according to my will and purpose for you,
I will send down abundant showers of Mercy until
you have grown tall and strong in your faith.”

“The seed ground I have planted you in is prayer.
Be patient then, and one day all of your prayers
will become a plush beautiful garden, pleasing to Me.”

So be it, King of all Mercy, just as You have said.


(c) 2017 Richard Keith Carlton