We Don’t Know

Songs and Poetry

They came one by one
and I saw it all, the whole village fall
They attacked father and son
and when they left there were none
except me and my camera lens
and all my family and friends

My brothers and their sisters, on the radio we hear your pleading voice
But oceans apart, we change the station for some other noise

Across the hills and across bodies of water
there danced bodies full of life, a husband and his sweet wife
Now lost from home is this man’s little daughter–
he’s a prince become pauper, no longer father–
but found is our locked front door
and the walls we put up by four

Strained is my neck
staring down at my desk
as these images flash on TV
They came one by one
for the father and his son
That might as well have been me

I don’t want to watch the news
seeing another war we might lose,
but I can’t hold my breath
Why is no one asking why
other people sin and other people die,
yet we’re the ones safe from death?

My brothers and their sisters, on the radio we hear your pleading voice
But oceans apart, we change the station for some other noise

II. Song of the Land

Songs and Poetry



The waters shrink back and the dove does not return
All the trees of the field clap when dead hearts start to burn
Rolling hills roll their tongues and mountains sing in joy
An atmosphere in my lungs: a man now walks, no longer a boy

Let the land burst into song before me,
for silenced is that lonesome sea
But beyond the coast a many unpaved road
begging wayfarers a burdensome load
The days will threaten, nights then beckon

Why must trouble exist up on the surface,
and I be left to question my purpose?
Yet the dogwoods continue in praise,
causing wonder for the rest of my days
What rules your heart does not rule in part

Through the clanging cymbals’ noise
listen for the loveliest of humble voice
You tell me to rejoice at trouble’s trumpets
for it cannot compare to any sunlit summit
Today might be stained, but it’s all so feigned

So I will hold on to what is good here
as a promise that our day is coming near
Once I wished to breathe in this land’s air,
now you tell me to another I’m an heir
Though beauty’s shone, this world’s not my home

That is the song of the land: that all will be made new
A hope so strange to man that any fantasy may be true
Let those Blue Mountains boast and the birds of the air sing loud
When descends the host of hosts and humbled are men too proud

All of creation be his evidence
And all of creation be emulous

I. Silent Waters

Songs and Poetry



I was dead,
At the bottom of the ocean
No heart nor head,
lifeless and ruled by her emotion
I would walk the ocean floor
not knowing a breath of fresh air
The sea, she’s sunken ship and more
She’s captured many a men into her lair

I would say I was drowning,
but I already had no pulse
No hope in rescue, I was surely doubting
Stories of the surface seem so false
I begged and begged for some sure face,
but leagues below there is no sound
Dive on in, if you can find me in this place,
for leagues below is my burial ground

I could scream for life, but leagues below the waters are silent
Death be my wife, and together our daughters are violent

If you ask how I ended up here
I went off course, thrown overboard
My selfish pride would let not the captain steer,
and out on the seas my soul grew star-bored
I searched for singing sirens and tempting pearls,
was given over to sea lions and wicked girls (rip curls)
And I was dead, no heart nor head,
ruled by emotion in this unrelenting ocean

Then he came and the floods subsided
Then he spoke and that’s when I decided
not to be a boy aboard his own sinking ship
No, I no longer rely on my own shrinking grip
Let me no longer fear the force of the waves—
He is to raise me a man from the depth of the grave
Oh, how sweet this air tastes in my lungs,
to finally hear a song worthy to be sung

What love: the defeated waters silent—not even a whisper—
and now I walk upon the sea, forgiven though a drifter!

Original poem of Silent Waters.


Songs and Poetry


What is this life
but a solemn and playful trek,
all serious and all play,
up the blue mountain?
Is each rut in routine
not a switchback higher?
Is every setback and failure
not another walk in beauty?
Is each opportunity and success
not a moment further to peak?

What are time’s ticking hands
but a careful Craftsman’s
refining the clay in fire,
and to nature what is time
but a season of drought
and a season of flood?
Why must man’s heart ache
in both pain and abundance?
Why not dance in the sun
and sing to the moon?

And what is this life
but a minute to eternity?
And what of time
to that which surrounds it?
What is sin to redemption
and silence to mention?
What is loneliness to being known
and what is poverty to promises?
Why should a mirror exist
when there is the echoing creation?

How could a cosmic whisper
roar louder than the world’s raving?
What is life but a slave to time?
What is time but a passage of water
reuniting to its oceans?
What then is life but
not also returning?
Who then are we to hear
the silent waters, pointing
us back home?

Paperback Scratches

Songs and Poetry

If life were a sequence of words
I think it’d be fair for the whole story to be italicized,
for every ounce of ink stresses worth, every ounce prized

But then again, what’d be the effect?
Italics would become normal, and you’d read right past
their significance, never admitting you’re reading too fast

Remember what happened in chapter four?
Maybe you were rushed to the hospital, being kept alive
You couldn’t wait until you got to chapter five

But the next pages brought more scars
Maybe your heart was broken and needed a fix,
yours a tragedy and it was just chapter six

If you could know the author, would you?
Would you not storm him with questions, asking
“Why would you write such a story and go on laughing?”

And he’d merely reply,
“If only you could have seen the next chapter,
then you’d be joining in on the laughter!”

You can see both chapters clearly now
and you go right on by reading past the resolution,
assuming the pain of chapter four is the conclusion

Only from pages and pages later
are you able to look back and see the ink drying
In awe of who you are now, simultaneously laughing and crying

All the better from the suffering
You’re like a tree etched with lovers’ marks,
its branches full of songbirds and singing larks

The writer has to scratch the paper
if he is to write a grand story such as yours
Continue on past the thickets and sores

Paperback books must be bent
if they’re ever to be read and enjoyed
Mind the creases and corners destroy’d

Little do we know
that there’s even a second book being written
of all triumph and nothing sour nor smitten


Songs and Poetry

Be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. / Ephesians 5:1-2

Winds in the state of dogwood,
Don’t you whistle out of praise?
Sunlight that breaks through,
Won’t you shine all my days?
Waters falling from rock majestic,
Don’t you rage on for His ways?
Earth so carved and sculpted,
Won’t you correct my gaze?

All of creation be His evidence
And all of creation be emulous

I never heard the winds move for a Voice
That carries the wind in all of its noise
Until I listened
Nor realized the Light is without shadow
That found lit the empty tomb alone
Until I looked
I never found a Well so full and free
That satisfied a thirst so internal in me
Until I reached
Nor tread the ground to witness a Tree
That favors a world like that of Calvary
Until I followed

All of creation be His evidence
And all of creation be emulous

A Glimpse of You

Songs and Poetry

Flood my ground, I have no need for it
Tear down these walls, I have no need for them
Test my faith, Lord, I will not quit
You have given a glimpse, forgive my sin

You have given a glimpse of Your Kingdom
In her eyes, in the skies I glance Your wisdom
What’s beyond the mountainside
and what’s beneath me that I hide
Lord, You know all and all You do
I’m picking up my call, all for You

Let them cast their stones
Let them break my bones
For there is nothing that can be done
to make me forget of Your forsaken Son
While tears may shed because of what’s in my head
I hold You up on high because of what’s in the sky

You have given a glimpse of Your Kingdom
In her eyes, in the skies I glance Your wisdom
I hold You up on high because of what’s in the sky
I shout Your name because of what’s in the rain
It’s the love that will not let me go
It’s Your covenant because of our woe
In the hands of the homeless
In the hearts of the hopeless
In the eyes of the restless
There You are found
A glimpse of You is found