Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

Nothing keeps the pastor in touch with reality, indeed, rubs his nose in it, like death.  Ministry to the dying and the bereaved keeps us pastors from hiding from the Last Enemy as efficiently as most of our contemporaries.  And that gives us the opportunity to find out how far we really believe the Faith, how real our own faith really is.  I found it affirmed by the experience—but the victory never came without a battle.  Nelle slipped slowly away as she lost her battle with cancer.

No illustration this week.  I don’t have a picture of Nelle, and what she awoke to is not picturable.  Just the words: If they are true, they are enough.



Throughout the week we’d watched her slip away.

The words lost focus first, and then the eyes;

The ending, when it came, was no surprise.

(The eyes refocused on a brighter day

While we still wrestled with our long good-byes.)

We’d faced it honestly; there were no lies.

Among the last words I was sure she heard,

I read her favorite Psalm:  the Twenty-Third.

(The words refocused on a brighter day:

No evil feared—the Shadow past—the Prize!)


Remember: for more poetry like this, go to and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

Donald T. Williams, PhD


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