I don’t endorse the theology here, but this is one of my favorite poems, and I heard it again recently. Just had to share it with ye! Grace — LM
St. Peter at the Gate
by Joseph Bert Smiley
St. Peter stood guard at the golden gate
With a solemn mien and air sedate.
When up to the top of the golden stair
A man and a woman ascending there.
Applied for admission, they came and stood
Before St. Peter, so great and good.
In hopes the City of Peace to win —
And asked St. Peter to let them in.
The woman was tall, and lank and thin,
With a scraggy beardlet upon her chin.
The man was short and thick and stout,
His stomach was built so it rounded out.
His face was pleasant and all the while
He wore a kindly and genial smile.
The choirs in the distance the echoes woke,
And the man kept still while the woman spoke:
“O, thou who guardest the gate,” said she,
“We two come hither beseeching thee
To let us enter the heavenly land
And play our harps with the angel band.
Of me, St. Peter, there is no doubt,
There is nothing from heaven to bar me out.
I’ve been to meeting three times a week,
And almost always I’d rise to speak.
“I’ve told the sinners about the day
When they’d repent of their evil way.
I’ve told my neighbors — I’ve told them all —
‘Bout Adam and Eve and the primal fall.
I’ve shown them what they’d have to do
If they’d pass in with the chosen few.
I’ve marked their path of duty clear —
Laid out the plan for their whole career.
“I’ve talked and talked to ’em loud and long,
For my lungs are good and my voice is strong.
So, good St. Peter, you will clearly see
The gate of heaven is open for me.
But my old man, I regret to say,
Hasn’t walked in exactly the narrow way;
He smokes and he swears, and grave faults he’s got,
And I don’t know whether he’ll pass or not.
“He never would pray with an earnest vim,
Or go to revival, or join in a hymn.
So I had to leave him in sorrow there
While I, with the chosen, united in prayer.
He ate what the pantry chanced to afford,
While I, in my purity, sang to the lord.
And if cucumbers were all he got,
It’s a chance if he merited them or not.
“But oh, St. Peter, I love him so,
To the pleasures of heaven please let him go.
I’ve done enough — a saint I’ve been,
Won’t that atone? Can’t you let him in —
By my grim gospel, I know ’tis so
That the unrepentant must fry below;
But isn’t there some way you can see
That he may enter whose dear to me?
“It’s a narrow gospel by which I pray,
But the chosen expect to find some way
Of coaxing, or fooling, or bribing you,
So that their relations can amble through.
And say, St. Peter, it seems to me
This gate isn’t kept as it ought to be.
You ought to stand right by the opening there,
And never sit down in that easy chair.
“And say, St. Peter, my sight is dimmed,
But I don’t like the way your whiskers are trimmed;
They’re cut too wide, and outward toss,
They’d look better narrow, cut straight across.
Well, we must be going our crown to win.
So open, St. Peter, and we’ll pass in!”
St. Peter sat quiet, and stroked his staff,
But in spite of his office he had to laugh,
Then said, with a fiery gleam in his eye,
“Who’s tending this gateway? you or I? —
Then he arose in his stature tall,
And pressed a button upon the wall.
And said to an imp, who answered the bell,
“Escort this lady around to hell.”
The man stood still as a piece of stone —
Stood sadly, gloomily there alone.
A life-long settled idea he had
That his wife was good and he was bad.
He thought, if the woman went down below,
That he would certainly have to go —
That if she went to the regions dim,
There wasn’t a ghost of a show for him.
Slowly he turned, by habit bent,
To follow wherever the woman went.
St. Peter, standing in duty there,
Observed that the top of his head was bare.
He called the gentleman back, and said,
“Friend, how long have you been wed? —
“Thirty years” (with a weary sigh),
And then he thoughtfully added, “Why?”
St. Peter was silent. With head bent down,
He raised his hand and scratched his crown.
Then seeming a different thought to take,
Slowly, half to himself, he spake:
“Thirty years with that woman there —
No wonder the man hasn’t any hair!
Swearing is wicked, smoke’s not good,
He smoked and swore — I should think he would,
Thirty years with that tongue so sharp!
Ho! Angel Gabriel! Give him a harp.
A jeweled harp with a golden string!
Good sir, pass in where the angels sing!
“Gabriel, give him a seat alone —
One with a cushion — up near the throne.
Call up some angels to play their best,
Let him enjoy the music and rest!
See that on finest ambrosia he feeds,
He’s had about all the hell he needs.
It isn’t just hardly the thing to do,
To roast him on earth and the future too.”
They gave him a harp with golden strings,
A glittering robe and a pair of wings,
And he said, as he entered the Realm of Day,
“Well, this beats cucumbers, any way.”
And so, the scripture had come to pass,
That “the last shall be first and the first shall be last.”
Tag Archives: poem
The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world.
I stand at the edge of the Omniverse ask, “Am I? Do I Exist? Am I a Figment?” and wait… silence.
Then Omniverse answers, “You are, because I AM.”
“Why?” I ask.
“That I may Love Thee.”
“What must I do, to be so loved?”
“Continue to exist. To be. To live.”
And from the silence, the darkness, I begin to hear… The music comes, the rhythm comes, the pulses of praise of worship, from hearts and voices without lips or form. The music builds, layer by layer, to a chorus beyond count. Songs without words. Music without notes. The very humming of the IS… the ARE… THEMSELVES.
“What… What is that? What do I hear?”
“You hear the IS… it comes from I AM… this is Worship, this is Life, this is Love, this is to BE!”
I listen… I hum… I vibrate… I AM… I live… I love… No longer just me… Now we… Us…
The Omniverse, and all within hums, vibrates, thrums… Is He/She the Source of the vibration? Or does the hum answer Him/Her?
“Yes… and No… Both!”
“I do not understand.”
“I know. But that does not matter. It is all right.”
“But what IS all this?”
“Love. My love.”
“But Who AM I?”
“Love. My love.”
But WHY is all this?”
“Love. My love.”
“But What is it all about? Why is there life? Why are there others? Why is there freedom? Why can some do good, and others do ill?” and as if in some gigantic canyon, some cosmic canyon of stars and galaxies, I heard my wee small voice echo…
“WHY?… WHY?… WHy?… Why?… why?…”
And the Stars, and Galaxies, and Universes, picked up my echo, and all vibrated with…
“WHY!… WHY!… WHy!… Why!… why!…” But from THEIR voices, it was not a question, but a statement…
The Omniverse completes the statement… “Love. My LOVE!”
And I see. I know, but not comprehend… the answer to all “Why?”…
“Love. His/Her Love.”…
The Song… It is so beautiful… I no longer hear it… I no longer sing it…
I am a… a Note. NO! More than a “note”, I am a Harmony WITHIN it! Yes!
The Song is:
Love… MY Love…
The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
4 Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.In them He has placed a tent for the sun,
5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;
It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
6 Its rising is from one end of the heavens,
And its circuit to the other end of them;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
In keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.
13 Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins;
Let them not rule over me;
Then I will be blameless,
And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. [Psalm 19]
I awoke with this rolling through my head this morning… I needed to get it down and share it with you. Merry Christmas to you all! Blessings and Grace to thee, Gentle Readers!
Twas the Day Before Christmas!
T’was the day before Christmas, and all through God’s Kingdom
His children were pondering how to be right.
So much preparation! The shopping! The travel!
The wrapping of presents on Christmas Eve night!
“This time should be Sacred! A Holy endeavor!”
Declare countless critics, most solemn in tone.
“This shopping is frivolous! Music commercial!
There’s nothing that honors Our God on His Throne!
“The Yule Log, Saint Nicolas, Stockings by Fireplace… all Pagan!” these holy ones sneer.
With voices of outrage, these judges condemn all
The joy and the laughter, to them empty din,
“These people should be on their knees in repentance,
Just muttering thanks that God came for their sin!”
At the opposite end, there are those who’ve forgotten that
There is a God in the heavens at all.
For these, Blessed Christmas is simply a holiday
Break from their workload to party with all.
And here in between there are millions of followers,
Worshipping God as their Father and Friend,
But hearing rebuke from the pious and critical,
Now fearful that Christmas traditions offend.
Now I am a simple Monk, not very bright, I fear…
Studied in all the right subjects, I guess.
All the right “ologies”, customs and languages,
But even this Little Monk, ponder as hard I might,
Couldn’t determine what God sought to bless!
So off to my closet I trudged on this Christmas Eve,
Finally sick of the whining and strife.
I thought, “Surely God will be willing to share with me,
What the Nativity means in my life.”
So down I sat, pouring two coffees and waiting,
When much to my shock, the Great Father appeared…
I started to kneel, He at my little table,
He shook His head smiling, said, “Sit down right here.”
“Don’t be so flustered, My loving but Little Monk,
Jesus has made it quite clear,
that each time you sit drinking coffee across from Him,
you drink with Me.
Son, there’s nothing to fear.
“You want to know, ‘Who is Right’ in this debate of yours?
How do I want to see this time of year?
Those who have lights, tinsel, presents, and parties,
Or those who seek sacred remembrance austere?
“O My dear Little Monk, when will you ever learn?
Though I applaud that you bring this to Me…
It’s not in the forms or the outward appearance,
But what’s in the heart of the child that I see.
“To answer your question of who’s right and who’s wrong,
I tell you quite clearly, you don’t see aright.
The question’s not whether there’s presents and tinsel,
But rather are gifts being given with LOVE?
When gathered in love, peace and joy at His coming,
My Son’s there, in midst of them, all through that night.
“For others who walk with Me daily and deeply,
Who live by My breath and each heartbeat they hear,
The sense of the sacred seems poignant and stately,
They sometimes mistake that all see Me so clear.
“Don’t JUDGE, precious Little Monk, one or the other,
It’s not just a question of ‘wrong’ or of ‘right’,
Like meat bought from temples, a person of conscience
Must simply do what My Spirit instructs THEM,
And no one but Me can condemn them that night.
“The one thing I want you, like any who love Me,
To do as you celebrate My Son’s great Birth,
However you choose to make merry and gather,
Is simply invite Him to join you on Earth.
“Let Jesus take part in your party or service,
Imagine Him sitting there, singing along.
For always He loves to take part with Our children in gathering,
The Gospels show as often He partied as preached,
He spent as much time in the houses of sinners AND Pharisees,
As ever He went to the Temple to teach.
“So there, Little Monk, I have answered your question.
‘Who’s right?’ or ‘ Who’s wrong?’ has no meaning to Me.
‘Why do you gather? Is love, peace, and joy there?
Have you invited My Son there to join you?’
These matter, not whether you tinsel a tree!
“Keep asking your questions, My sweet son, thou Little Monk.
One day you may yet grow up and be wise.
For life’s not a test, that you worry to pass or flunk,
But seeking to please Me is grace in My eyes.
“So much do My children fret, worry, and ponder,
That this course or that is the line of My will.
Their fear can unhinge them, just freeze them immobile,
They seek to be pleasing, they stop and stand still…
“I wish I could tell them, they’ve already done it!
I’m pleased when they look to Me first!
The left or the right path is far less important to Me,
Than asking Me which best or worst!
“In asking, they please Me. I’m simply a Father
who loves them and seeks all their best.
I manage My Kingdom, it does not depend on their
Efforts or strength in the test.
“I seek to be with them, as always I have from before the beginning of time.
Tonight let us celebrate, ‘God Come Among Us’,
(‘Tis one of Our greatest of triumphs, you know)
Quit fretting and judging,” He tousled my hair as He rose,
Then gently He said, “I must go.”
And He walked away, slowly.
I knew that I had to get paper and pen in my hand.
To share such a moment, such comfort and warmth,
On so cold a day all through this land.
I shall celebrate Christmas, the Birth of Our Savior,
With family, and tinsel, and lights,
And sacred remembrance of price that was paid,
For my love, joy, and peace in this Night.
I love you, my Family, all brothers and sisters! Let’s celebrate Birthday of Jesus the Son!
For one night, no differences as we stand arm in arm, Children the Father’s made One.