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Off the Deep End

Robert Frost supposedly said, “I would just as soon write free verse as play tennis with the net down.” I wonder what he thought about reading it. Poetry of all kinds does something for me. I’m not a John Quincy Adams (or a Machen as I learned this week in the reading of his biography) that carries about with me a book of poetry. But I do read it often.

Here our church’s resident poet (Joy McCarnan) expresses well what so many of us who are invested in the agonizing business of life-saving feel. It is a horrible thing to see the ones we love slip out of our grasp and into loss, ruin, and eternity.


I can trust grace
for floundering friends
I can say love
and decide that’s enough
to keep them from going under

I can hoist the sails
and go the distance
and run the gamut
and call all hands on deck
and plumb the depths

But in the end

they either swallow too much
or they survive

And who am I
but just another pair
of wandering dark eyes
just another pair
of feeble clumsy hands
just another pair
of slippery bare feet

I can throw all the lifesavers I can throw
They can cling to all they catch

But in the end

It’s God Who gives their knuckles grip
It’s God Who helps them breathe again


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