Man’s Fable Pulverized: An Easter Poem



Life? Pitch blackness. A labyrinth, spark-less,

Lungs expand & contract, breathing in and out darkness;

All men beleaguered, bruised reeds, battered race,

Enmeshed in sin, culpable, Oh, grave dwelling place.


Meaning? We look for it, examining our past,

Sands of time, waters of hope, slip from our grasp.

Rusty toys, tools, and philosophies pacify;

We purpose-less ones tread on, we dissatisfied.


Stability? We forge veneers for our bodies of death;

Offering up cheers, hollow, vague, half-breathed,

Self-acclaimed masters of fate, yet so mastered;

By time which keeps marching, marching every day faster.


Truth? It’s a stranger to us, though presumption,

Compels us to claim and voice it, with gumption;

But our truth is spineless, with no heart, no splendor,

It’s relative, combustible, consumed as mere tinder.


Beauty? For us, it’s a thing double-blurry,

Our objects are fading, our sight plagued by hurry;

We squint to behold it in all the world’s wonders,

Which do briefly thrill, but still leave hearts asunder.


All we like sheep have gone so far astray,

All we like fools have not numbered our days;

All we like the Serpent have coveted a throne,

All we like ruptured cisterns, unknown fractured stones.

All we like insecure kings craving honor,

All we like orphans, disoriented we wander;

All we like convicts, trampling Heaven’s Law,

All we like narcissists, with no God-ward awe.

All we like cowards, saving face, loving self,

All we appearing honest, but liars in stealth;

All we like tight-fisted consumers have grappled,

To preserve our great fable, our gold-plated shackles.


What then could mend this great tear in our souls?

What could make clean, make full, make whole?

What defines life, grants meaning, makes stable,

In real truth and beauty, capsizing the fable?


There in the garden One Man was betrayed,

He shouldered our malaise, and with bleeding pores prayed,

From loud cries and tears He emerged resolutely,

Knowing, feeling the cost of Redemption acutely.


Then kissed by a fable-lover, one not unlike us,

Who treasured not Christ, but preferred money-lust;

The Servant-King was bound by the chains we procured,

His back whipped to ribbons, thorn-crowned, He endured.


He ascended the Hill, the Place of a Skull,

Where spiked to the Tree He would taste wine & gall;

It was bitter, though not nearly as harsh or sour,

As the wrath He would meet with in that holy hour.


The Messiah of Israel mocked by His kinsmen,

He was clothed with the blood of Atonement, red crimson;

While Rome’s soldiers watched over Him blind-hearted,

Incapable of seeing sin’s sea being parted.


Only this God-Man could raise this cup well,

Only this Lamb could confront powers of hell;

Only this Mediator could bear sin and death,

He drank down the cup, and surrendered last breath.


“It is finished!”, He had cried, Oh, ineffable finish,

The fable we’d lived in and loved, now diminished;

The fountain now opened, decisively, surely,

The sweet tide of mercy, surged powerfully and purely.


Love vast as oceans and skies and all heavens,

Our sins, pulverized, even seventy times seven;

Fears, ills, and wants now eclipsed by His face,

Our orphan-state? Erased. Our offense? Not a trace.


As saving blood dried on Golgotha’s dark slope,

As Pharisees gasped at the veil rent by hope,

Bewildered disciples hid in their inner-rooms,

Their warm-hearted Master now cold, still, entombed.

Resurrection Day.

And then, at the Father’s command angels stirred,

The seal broke apart, the stone rolled at His Word;

Indestructible life then warmed the frame,

Of God’s precious Son, the Lamb who was slain.


He rose once-for-all from the throes of the grave,

To make friends from foes, to make sons from slaves;

Once delivered to death for the sin of all nations,

Once raised in power for our justification.


He crushed death to purchase dead men from all tribes,

Silenced the accuser’s feverish diatribe;

For this Man of sorrows had joy set before Him,

To ransom the many, to cleanse and restore them.


He lives! He speaks! Let proud hearts be baffled,

The mystery’s plain-written, the fable’s unraveled;

Let those who believe Him, with joyful hearts burning,

Make haste to proclaim Him, until His returning. ——-


He came. He spoke. He died. He Rose. He ascended. He is coming. He is worthy.

Amen and amen.

-by B.A. Purtle

Good Friday by George Herbert


Good Friday by George Herbert (3 April 1593 – 1 March 1633)

O my chief good,
How shall I measure out thy blood?
How shall I count what thee befell,
And each grief tell?

Shall I thy woes
Number according to thy foes?
Or, since one star show’d thy first breath,
Shall all thy death?

Or shall each leaf,
Which falls in Autumn, score a grief?
Or cannot leaves, but fruit, be sign,
Of the true vine?

Then let each hour
Of my whole life one grief devour;
That thy distress through all may run,
And be my sun.

Or rather let
My several sins their sorrows get;
That as each beast his cure doth know,
Each sin may so.

Since blood is fittest, Lord, to write
Thy sorrows in, and bloody fight;
My heart hath store; write there, where in
One box doth lie both ink and sin:

That when sin spies so many foes,
Thy whips, thy nails, thy wounds, thy woes,
All come to lodge there, sin may say,
No room for me, and fly away.

Sin being gone, oh fill the place,
And keep possession with thy grace;
Lest sin take courage and return,
And all the writings blot or burn.


Bible (A poem)


Towering alone above all that is penned,

Steadfast, pristine, immutable, bright;

Cleaving in double the soul it too mends,

First severed clean, then balm for the plight.


Shattering otherwise impenetrable stone,

Patterning otherwise indistinct sound;

Fattening otherwise marrowless bone,

Plowed, seeded, watered otherwise fallowed ground.


Out from its well-spring a tide of hope issues,

Felt from its churning, a fastening gale;

Crafting from nothing heart-pulse, structure, tissue,

Once distant Word, descended  … exhaled.

You // a poem

High def colors, lights and themes flash,
Rush-hour cars dash, talk-radio blasts,
Ten billion thoughts rash, busy minds rehash,
Without thought of You.

E-mails zing swiftly, all around the globe flying,
Salesmen manipulate consumers, prying,
Lotto ticket holder scores a grand, sighing,
With no sigh for You.

Theaters fill with souls, hooked by the latest,
Boasts clang from athletes, “I am the greatest!”
The Mid-East huffs peace for one brief hiatus,
Yet no regard for You.

Stadiums sardined with painted men, awed by names,
Names of chiseled figures, soldiers at game,
Enduring snow, sleet, hail, heat, heavy rains,
Could this be for You?

Bars full of drunkards, cursing, pontificating,
Sunday’s noon-gluttons, bloated from “buffet-ing”,
Preacher clicks the mouse in his office, masturbating,
Hiding from all but You.

Church-going man exasperates his kids,
Christian contractor wields unjust bids,
Mother suffocates infant, claims it was SIDS,
Breaking the heart of You.

Government sanctions homicide in the womb,
Brides are superfluous, groom marries groom,
Preachers envy preachers, their mouths open tombs,
Beckoning wrath from You.

Emergents emerge, cheap grace gains momentum,
“Apostles” build empires, can we find who sent them?
Devoid of humility, promoting books, systems,
In the name of who?

Lord, in this hour when love has waxed cold,
And we’ve lost the fire of the prophets of old,
For we’ve shirked the heat that would try us as gold,
We need mercy from You.

O, that our eyes were a fountain of tears,
Percolating copiously all of our years,
Until mercy rushes, until heaven hears,
‘Till we, whole-souled, behold You.

Wake us from sleeping, gift us with Your view,
Break us with weeping, to love as You do,
Rattle the fleeting ’til the eternal shines through.
O God of Israel, with grace make us true.

Like You.

Only You.

-B.A. Purtle, 2009 (Revised 2017)