first light final

What keeps them going, those hopeful hearts?
It’s something remembered, that first light, breaking
through the darkest shadows of a moment or an hour,
or a thousand days of longing and desperation.

A child’s vision dream in a dimly lit hallway,
standing alone, watching Him approach silently,
holding a candle, the way, the truth, the life.
For one it was a vision not of the eyes but the soul.
When a breath of the spirit transformed brokenness
in a man into an unexpected act of divine mercy.

The first light. The first taste of true love, not of
this world, but a supernatural, healing love, that
burns into the heart, spirit and soul, a fire so deep
that its light cannot be extinguished or forgotten.
Through the darkest night of living, in the sorrowful
hours of loss, deprivation, and hopelessness.

They fall, and they rise, seven times seventy times,
those hopeful hearts, keep straining forward, pressing
on, through the muck and mire of life’s endless swamps.
Because no matter the circumstances, no matter the cold
grip of shadows, they remember always, that first light,
pursuing, hunting, longing for it, till the last breath.


© Richard Keith Carlton


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