A CROWN OF ROSES

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Let me weave thee a crown of roses
Fair Mother dear—
My life’s sweetness and hope
thru days of joy and tear.

Each rose I send thee springs
From a heart filled with love—
From the garden of my prayers
To Fair Mother above.

 

 

© Richard Keith Carlton

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SEASONS CROSSING by Richard Keith Carlton

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The changing of the seasonal guard—
Summer clings to the senses, refusing
to acquiesce to the change, to Autumn.
Mind, body and soul stand in the middle,
restless, longing for the change and
struggling to free themselves from
the grasp of what was, and will never
be, must not ever, be again.

Old ways must take their leave—
new ways must conquer at all costs.
Winter stands ready at fair distance,
indifferent to the tug and pull, the
conflicts of yesterday and tomorrow.

It comes when it wills to come with
no concern for Summer or Autumn—
cares not what season may prevail
in the struggle between life and death.
Winter waits for now, for a time,
armed with the weapons of purging,
ready to lay bare all that was, and is.

 

© Richard Keith Carlton

The Hermitage

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Not 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
worldly noises of distraction that never cease.

A pupil cannot hear the Master while
while fluttering and twittering like a bird.
So it is well the student learn to be still,
for the soul to receive its Master’s word.

Be still then, amid a thousand clanging bells—
useless tasks and demands of this earth.
In silence and in solitude, away from the mob,
will the soul of a man find true worth.

Turn out glaring lights of worldly intrusion,
close shutters of the heart against the garish day.
Take shelter in the hallowed cell of prayer,
and let the blessing of silence be your way.

© Richard Keith Carlton

This World Is Not My Home

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I was thinking of the words of an old
hymn, “This world is not my home,
I’m just a passin’ through.” And I realized
these words expressed exactly what I feel—
have felt for a good long time now.

Here in what may be called the autumn of
my years, I realize there are many more sunsets
behind me than lie ahead of me. That time is
no longer on my side, and passes as quickly
by me, as a jet plane across a clear blue sky.

For some time now I have been more concerned
with building treasures for the life beyond, than
worrying about the little treasures I now possess,
or those I have lost or discarded along my way.
Too old now to plan great and wonderful things.

Save for those loved ones dearest to me, whom I
pray for with all my heart, every day and every night,
there is little in this world that holds my interest.
My days are spent, in the words of Paul the Apostle,
“working out my salvation with fear and trembling.”

Peace is found in the silence of heart, spirt and soul,
where I meet the Almighty in my many prayers—
in the sanctuary each morning where I receive the
Bread of Life, my needed nourishment on the journey.
In the sacred hours of solitude, closing out the world.

Listening for those inner whisperings from beyond this,
where Love beckons my weary heart and tired soul to
prepare in this life for the holy mysteries of the next.
Where I ask God to heal the pain, and empty me of
all anger, regret, and disappointment of days long gone.

To love all, forgive all, to remember not the former things,
and leave the past in the heap of ashes it truly is, to live in
the now, the hour, with a new heart, a heart cleansed of all
the dirt and dust accumulated in my long history.
And to trust Him, only Him, above all other creatures.

To live each day in gratitude for what I have, and what I
have survived, and to remember it could have been otherwise.
To live as though it may be the last day, and cast all worries,
fears, and useless anticipations upon the winds of nevermore.
And to remember, “This world is not my home,
I’m just a passin’ through.”

 

© Richard Keith Carlton

A QUIET SORROW

 

 

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A quiet sorrow
never heard in the din of humanity,
lost amid clanging bells of busyness.
Sorrow for soul, sorrow for self
and quiet anguish for lives wasted.

In the quiet hours
listen to the soft gentle voice of mercy,
shutting out tormented cries of a world
gone wrong, of a world gone mad—
listen in the quiet to hope.

In a quiet space
away from the horrors of mortality—
crimes against the children of God.
In silent shadows, with silent tears,
pray for mankind in quiet sorrow.

 

© Richard Keith Carlton

THE HALL OF SOULS

 

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They linger in mist
across a great divide
between the here and the now.
A mile from heaven, they wait,
amidst cleansing fire, the final beckoning—
in the hall of souls.

The past left behind
lost forever and a day
when time determined all things.
Now in a constant gray they wait,
where time has been swallowed in eternity—
in the hall of souls.

Say a prayer for them
from this mortal dwelling,
offer them a moment’s suffering.
For when at last they journey home,
they may remember to pray for you—
in the hall of souls.

 

© Richard Keith Carlton

TO WHOM SHALL I GO?

 

DANCE WALK

I follow you now, with a new pace,
resolved to never turn back or aside—
no matter how often I stumble or grow
weary. I have followed the songs of sirens,
gone astray and afield of truth, only to
find myself lost in some valley barren—
a thousand miles and heartaches from you.

But then, you told me long ago, when first
I heard your words of life and hope, that
should I follow, I must take up any crosses
that would come my way, to never look
back, trusting you would lead me home—
lead me to truth, the only truth. Beyond
these plains and highways of toil and woe.

Long the journey has been, my Lord indeed,
and filled with days of sweet and beautiful
consolations to heart and soul. And nights
as well, when the cold specters of shadows
seemed my only companions, their icy fingers
gripping me, so that at times, I felt I would be
pulled into a black hole of nothingness.

And when least expecting it, the shadows
would disperse, light would shine, and I could
once again see clearly the road leading home.
Come what may, what winds of circumstance
may blow, I have come too far to turn back.
I will follow you. For what else can I do—
to whom shall I go dear Lord?

You have the words of eternal life.

 

© Richard Keith Carlton