Life, Finally. A poem.

My wanderings,
part of me, intrinsically.
My wonderings,
ostensibly necessary.
My heart and head,
as one, not separately.
My head and heart,
all I need, invariably.

My turns of phrase
never lead me astray.
My phrasing, beguiling,
when it turns that way.
My life is finally, where I
want and need to be.
My life, the sum, is the
worst and best of me.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

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Cast. A poem.

Line cast before the storm,
Sent and received
Let waters churn
Offer up your burdens
And your soothing grace
So that the tide might carry
All concerns beyond
This harbour’s boundaries
And out into the wide
And yearning sea.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Elixir. A poem.

The elixir that drowns
is a draught without measure,
a flood like no other,
an unstoppable well.

‘Tis the sweetest lifeblood,
and an undying treasure
brings me all the more closer
to the place where He dwells.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Merry Christmas to all!

My favourite Christmas carol (okay, it’s only part of it, but I still love it!)

Silent night, holy night,
all is calm, all is bright.
Round yon virgin, mother and child,
holy infant, so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace,
sleep in heavenly peace.

Merry Christmas, one and all. May we find grace, joy, love and lasting peace in the coming year.

God bless

Steve:)

Humble. A poem.

The essence of humility
Is all I ever need of be
Humble is as humble does
The other side of piety.

I am forever in Your debt,
my honour long impugned, you see.
You paved the road with grace for me
to be remade from aimless sin.

The All or the Nothing

For more of my poetry, check out The All or the Nothing, my first book, available at most online book sellers in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

Tonight. A poem.

Am I mad and destitute
on this anxious road to success?
Or am I lost and found again
in artless vanity and regret?

Is this path I walk alone
of the living and the dead?
Or a marathon that leads me on
far from a shameful mess?

Do you hear my silken cries
or feel my sullen tears?
Do you smile all the while
or simply laugh at me?

Am I selfish or justified
to think and feel this way?
Or is it just another cross
I think I bear, today?

Will you pray for me again
as I walk the quivering wire?
Trying not to glance below
into the waiting fire.

No, You will hold me subtly
each and every time I tire.
You will always ease my pain:
right here, right now, in time.

The All or the Nothing

For more of my poetry, check out The All or the Nothing, my first book, available at most online book sellers in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Want to support Steve with a donation? Click on the donate link at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

Nothing Less. A poem.

I left myself in such a mess,
recovery mode and nothing less.
Drowned my sorrows in emptiness,
succumbed to my own thoughtlessness.

But now I see the road ahead.
You light my way to more than this.
I guess this all was just a test,
Your way of saying “Just do your best”.

Now, I rise above the rest
to face the world, my sins addressed.
I’ve become, I must confess,
a better man and nothing less.

For more of my poetry, check out The All or the Nothing, my first e-book, available at most online book sellers.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Step. A poem.

One
Foot
In
Front
Of the other

Every day

Step
Forward
Trying
Not
To step back

Every day

I
Move
A
Little
Further
Forward

Every day

I move a little further
To where I need to be

One
Step
Closer
To you

I write a lot of poems, some from my head, some from my heart. Many don’t appear on this website. For more of my poetry, check out The All or the Nothing, my first e-book, available at most online book sellers.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Haiku Friday: The Promise. A haiku.

The Promise
Holistic vision:
a promise swaddled in truth.
Future redemption.

Haiku is a Japanese poetic form with a strict 5/7/5 syllable and line structure.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

I write a lot of poems, some from my head, some from my heart. Many don’t appear on this website. For more of my poetry, check out The All or the Nothing, my first e-book, available at most online book sellers.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Your Road. A poem.

Before me is asphalt,
an active metaphor.
My journey’s just begun,
never ending or undone,
upon this path I’ll drive,
forever sanctified.
On the eternal road of life
Your cross will be my guide.

I write a lot of poems, some from my head, some from my heart. Many don’t appear on this website. For more of my poetry, check out The All or the Nothing, my first e-book, available at most online book sellers.
Click here to find out how to purchase a copy

Eternal Grace. A poem.

Upon the cross, through time inured
You gave Your life, so pure and true.
For mankind’s untold sins and strife,
You left this world when time was nigh.
Beyond the pale of man’s disgrace,
bequeathed the world eternal grace.


I write a lot of poetry, some of which comes from my head, some from my heart. Many don’t appear on this website. For more poems, check out The All or the Nothing, my first e-book of poetry, available at most online book sellers.
Click here to find out how to purchase a copy to treasure forever, or at least until some other e-book takes your fancy 😉

The road gone…but not forgotten.

It’s been a few years since I disappeared in a puddle of self-limiting self-destruction.

It seems my years of wallowing and despondency are coming to a close. That’s not to say my depression has gone away. My favourite black dog is right beside me as always, although his ever-present bark is lessened somewhat by the muzzle. I guess I’ve arrived at a place where I can safely say I’ve shed some (but not all) of my ridiculously cumbersome baggage. At least I’m not bowed from the heavy lifting. Stronger, perhaps.

So does this mean I can get on with my life? I’m afraid the spectres and banshees at my heels will never go away, but I can live with them a little better than before. Perhaps, with time, they’ll fade. Hopefully, not altogether, though–I need to be reminded of my mistakes. Life is all about consequences and learning from them, after all.

Wow, that’s a lot of clichés. Maybe next time I write a confusing and enigmatic post, I’ll try to avoid them.

Cheers

Steve  🙂

Anew. A poem.

All my dreams

returned to dust
whence they sprang,
embittered and tweeted
into the ionosphere.

I am guilty

of a life lived lost,
of times counted down
but launched anew,
in an empyrean embrace.

The All or the Nothing is my first e-book of poetry, available at most online book sellers. To find out how to buy a copy,
click here.

Consequence. A poem.

If I had my chance again,
would I change the things I did?
I am so invested in this pain,
and have lost, yet gained so much,
it was surely
meant to be.

And if I had my chance again,
would it truly set me free?
We only learn from hurt, it seems,
from bitter consequence
and suffering.

God found me there,
alone in my electric chair,
death’s certainty suddenly
uncertain.
I reached out in return
and embraced the grace
that He did bring,
acceptance,
the consequence of things.

Do I need my chance again?
It seems not, for this humbler life
accedes to the betterment
of consequence.

The All or the Nothing is my first e-book of poetry. To find out how to buy a copy,
click here.

Back to Life. A poem.

The sun shone through,
my hope returned,
and I drifted on rays
of sutured miracles that
stitched the dark and light
together. And like the
Creator Himself, brought
me shining back to life.

The All or the Nothing is my first book of poetry, and at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem! To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Night, Again. A poem.

Night, again
and here I am,
pondering the specificity
of my unctuous requests,
enraptured and Heaven-sent
on the backs of clasped palms,
no random incidental
tests of charm.

Every night
I thank Him there,
for faith and hope and grace,
every single day I share.
all part, this humble life
under His long
forgiving stare.

Every night
I ask for love,
that this be finally done,
because without her this life
is lost and never won.
Without her
I am nothing
and no one.

And then
I turn again
to sleep, and join billions
of patient souls who pray
for all their souls to keep.
I dream of love and subtlety,
with those who wonder when
their prayers will bring them
long and
sweet
relief.

The All or the Nothing is my first book of poetry, and if you like what you’ve been reading then you’ll love it! To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Focus. A poem.

You are my focus.
Without you I am a blur,
a hazy remnant lurking
on the periphery of this
sun-scorched existence.

You are the prism
through which I shine.
You are my multiplicity of light,
an enchanted, technicolour spectrum,
illuminating my darkness,
and showing me the way.

The All or the Nothing is my first book of poetry, and if you like what you’ve been reading then you’ll love it! To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Christmas. A poem.

The lights shining on the tree,
the streets filled with gaiety,
presents, goodwill; how it’s meant to be,
not always reflecting reality.

He was born on Earth, a miracle being.
He lived and died, for us, you see.
His loving grace, it set us free,
so rejoice in Him, on this day of peace.

Faith, Hope, Love: is all we need.
Faith, Hope, Love: will always be.

.
Merry Christmas, everyone! May your Christmas and new year be filled with life and love.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Would you like to read more poetry and prevent Steve from starving at the same time?

Steve’s first book of poetry, The All or the Nothing, is available now as an e-book from most online distributors. For more information, click here.

Crowd Pleasers. A poem.

We all, a crescendo
of broken hearts,
slivered by degrees,
like fractured performance art,
played out in front
of voyeuristic crowds
for residual affirmation
and a single denarius.

Come join me in the circus round
so that we may hug and huddle
and consider matrices of
dulled theatricality:
that every cheering onlooker
should feel as rent and succinct
as the saddest Mozart note.

And we will shine, despite
the shattered dignity we carry
like crosses through the throng
to our private Golgothas.

The King Spoke. A poem.

The King spoke upon
the mount
to thousands who’d come far.
His words would
change
the world.

Did he know how much?
Yes, he did.

The same way he knew
He would be
betrayed,
and on his cross on Golgotha,
His Father would
forsake him,
then raise Him from the dead.

Did He know His
words and actions
would mean so much?

Yes, He did.

And He would do it all
again,

to save us with His
Grace.

Invincible. A poem.

I’m alone against the storm,
wearing custom-fitted armour,
courtesy of the Lord.

I’m a lone wanderer in form,
but my way is assured,
courtesy of the Lord.

I’m a fighter on the boards,
wearing gloves of solid steel,
courtesy of the Lord.

And I’m invincible,
a man of principles.
Courtesy of the Lord.

.
I haven’t written a Christian poem in a while. It’s about time I did. 

Here’s one for the big guy upstairs.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Haiku Friday. Three haikus in a row.

Congregation

This congregation
What secrets are kept in here
Hidden agendas

Tai Chi

Slow and graceful moves
All mindfulness and mystique
Far too many forms

Prayer

Bend my knee to Thou
Communicate by steeple
Wait for an answer

.

If you’ve followed me for a while you will know I absolutely love Japanese Haiku, with its 5/7/5 syllable structure. Here’s a few I wrote recently.

I think I’ll make Haiku Friday my ‘thing’ for Fridays. Just because.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

PS Want to read some more Haiku? Whereku? Hereku

Online Dating Sellout

Okay, okay. I admit it. I sold out. I downloaded Tinder.

If you have read my previous online dating posts (here, here, here, here and here), you’ll know that I was vehemently opposed to Tinder because of the considerably biased rep the poor app, and its users, have (note how I am now sounding more sympathetic). I didn’t want to be seen as someone just looking to ‘hook up’, and being a Christian, it was doubly inappropriate.

Well, I have now tried the Tinder experience and I can say that my opinion is pleasantly changed (read: eat humble pie). I have been on a few online dating websites and they have been somewhat…disappointing. Women with photos that look nothing like them, crazy stalkers and scammers haunt my waking hours (okay, that’s a bit overly dramatic, but I’m a writer. Cut me some slack).

Within hours of being on Tinder (swipe left, swipe right – I feel like I’m in The Karate Kid and Mr Miyagi is abstractly teaching me some new defensive move), I had a few (admittedly vague) conversations.

Within a few days I had a date (yes, remarkable, given my jaded dating history). It was nice: a few drinks, dinner and a fun night. No, she wasn’t Christian, but we had a good time anyway. I have now had a few more decent conversations with other women and will try a few more dates. No, I’m not playing the field. I’m very upfront with my date that if we don’t think we are viable long-term prospects then we move on. Okay, maybe I do sound a little shallow (what does the guilty-looking emoji look like…).

Turns out Tinder is not so bad, after all.

Cheers

Steve 😊

A Question of Purpose

How do you define yourself? When you have nothing to define yourself with? When your past has been forcibly ejected and you’re holding on for dear life as your plane flies headlong into the ground? When you run out of reasonable and unreasonable metaphors to express yourself?

I hear a lot about purpose. About predestination. As a Christian I’m a believer. But at the same time I find myself purposeless. And I have to ask the question: I’m on God’s path, so what and where is my purpose? (I’m a Christian. I didn’t say I was a patient Christian.)

It’s a simple question, and one that I’m sure has vexed many of you as well. Many people define themselves by their jobs, or their upbringing, or by their education or money. Some by their friendships or achievements. But when you don’t have any of that, what do you do? (Live with your parents, I guess. Question answered? Nope.)

Now, I’m an intelligent man (or so I like to think). I’ve been around. I had a successful career. I’m well educated. I had a loving family. I had the respect of my peers. I did great (and not so great) things. I had purpose. I was fulfilled.

And I lost it all. One day I tripped, fell, and by the time I got back on my feet they were all gone. Like pristine white linen blown from the emotional clothes line during a raging storm. Hmm, that was a terrible simile. How about ‘like a paper boat whirlpooling down life’s storm drain’. No? Okay, I’m out*.

Now, here I am, a creative writing student with no job, no money, no family. Now, I am essentially purposeless**.

I’m searching for the woman of my dreams (is there such a thing?) in the vain hope that with her I’ll regain that missing purpose. But that search has turned out to be more complicated than expected. It seems most women nowadays value men with jobs and money***.

So my question of purpose goes unanswered. I continue to ask everyday. And I wait (less than patiently) for an answer. 

Three years and counting…

Steve 🙂

* I’m not demeaning or making light of my situation. Okay, I am. But if you can’t learn to laugh about your trials and tribulations, you end up going crazy. Maybe I’m there already.

** Except for this blog, I guess. And yes, I do have some family who I love very much, but it sounds far more dramatic and the alliteration works better saying ‘no family’. Stop criticising my creative liberties! Oh, you’re not, that’s me. Sorry.

*** My apologies to any women who think I have summed them up as a cliche–I’m aware I’m generalising. It’s true though ;p

Rebirth.

Yesterday was the three-year anniversary of the worst day of my life. Those of you who are regulars will know that I celebrated (rather insanely) by walking 24 kms.

But before I did that I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror and had an epiphany. Despite the fact that three years ago I lost EVERYTHING that was dear to me, that I’ve been near crippled with depression and anxiety ever since, that I tried to kill myself, that I’m still undergoing therapy to recover from PST–I am a better man now than I ever was before. 

I have accepted my failings. I took responsibility for my actions. While I can never forgive myself, God in his infinite grace, has. I find myself humbled, but stronger emotionally, physically, spiritually. Although I will never recover from depression (I’ve had it all my life), I’ve learned to manage it better. I learned who my true friends are and I value them more than anything. And I have vowed never to repeat the mistakes of the past.

I realised that I had to go through hell to find heaven (that might be a bit of a pithy analogy, but you know what I mean). Like the Phoenix, I needed to burn to rise from the ashes (I’m full of cliches today). Whilst I will always acknowledge my past, it no longer defines me. I am a new man, and I face the future with belief, hope and surety. 

That doesn’t mean you won’t hear me agonising about life. But it does mean I have a new found respect for it (life, that is). And with that comes a new found self-respect. Take that, low self-esteem.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Family Lost. A poem.

There are rabbits in my back yard
Each day they rise to greet the light
With eager noses, seek daily bread
While the alpha, tall and bright
Watches oh, so protectively
Together, the family eats again

I had a family once like them
It now feels like so long ago
I loved them so, my family lost
The rabbits are reminders then
With faith and hope
I’ll survive the cost

Perspective.

So, what are the rules of life?

I guess, when it comes down to brass tacks (that’s an old-fashioned saying, youngsters, cause, I’m, like, a bit old and stuff), there aren’t really any. Or are there? I’m sounding suspiciously ambiguous and much less wise than I originally thought I would, but bear with me…  

Now I know there are moral and ethical guidelines that we should (but often don’t) apply, and, for those of us who are religious, there are rules for that, too. There are rules established by our upbringing, familial environment, school (don’t run in the halls!), our friends (NOT your Facebook friends, the actual, real ones who don’t talk to you, and never seem to ”like” your Fb posts), our workplaces, the government (you will pay tax and then die, but not necessarily in that order), the local gym we may or may not attend (it feels good to be a member of a gym, even if you don’t use it: “Hey, I just joined the gym.” “You look fantastic.” “I haven’t gone yet.” “Well, it’s obviously working for you.”), the shopping mall (must…buy…more…DVDs of series I won’t have time to watch, but which will look good on my DVD shelf), the label on that opened jar of pickled gherkins you were planning to eat that have been in the fridge for at least three years—the list goes on. All overlayed on each other and forming some sort of reasonable and realistic basis for us to live by (or unreasonable and unrealistic basis, depending on which side of the fence you sit).

Maybe that’s a bit simplistic (but don’t call me simple!). But, then, I’m a simple guy (I said don’t call me simple! What are use-by dates, anyway? They’re suggestive, not obligatory. I wonder why I keep running to the toilet all the time? Can’t have been those gherkins, they were in the fridge…) 

Are there really rules for life, though? I mean, it’s easy to say there are lots of rules that we have to adhere to (paying tax, for instance, for those of us unfortunate enough to. There was a time when I did, but now that I’m a student layabout, I cruise through tax time. Much like I cruise through every other time). But who’s to say that everyone does (for instance, the guy who is arrested for tax evasion at the airport, after the airport fuzz see through his poor attempts to explain the great wads of cash in his overnight bag and his failure to pay tax for the last ten years). 

Those are just rules for playing the game of life (remember the Game of Life? I used to play it with my family as a kid. You almost always ended up as a millionaire. How does that work, exactly? How come I’m not a millionaire in real life? The Game of Life said it would be so….Damn you, Hasbro!!!!!). What are the rules for being alive, for living as good a life as you possibly can? For being counted as a good and valued human being, when all is said and done (rather than being counted as a census statistic, which is usually what we are. Unless you’re homeless–then you’re an estimate).

I suppose only you can know that. Only you can really know if you have done the right thing, led the right life and done right by yourself and others. Everyone has their own moral compass, established by a lifetime of learning and challenges. So, when you get to the end, and you’re knocking on that big white door, hopefully you’ll know if you’ve satisfied life’s rules, or not. And if not, the Big Guy might give you the thumbs down (if he’s feeling so inclined). Or not (that’s what Grace is all about, after all).

It’s all just a matter of perspective.

The Yoke. A Poem.

The yoke weighed heavily
I toiled the fields of my responsibilities
I saw others dance and play all day and night
And I was filled with envy
And I longed to cast it aside
So that I too could be free

And one day I did
I cast the yoke unto the dirt
And my load was lightened
And I joined the dancers in their revelry
But while I danced into the cloying darkness
By the empty light of a sullen moon
My fields grew fallow
And my crops failed
And the subtle pangs of hunger
Slowly turned to starvation

So I picked up the yoke again
It was much heavier now
With the added weight of my failings
On top of my responsibilities
And I toiled once more
Long through the day and deep into the night
Where before I had danced with reckless abandon
Underneath a cold and sullen moon
But my fields remained parched and fallow
And my stomach remained empty and my tongue dry
And as I wasted away, a mere shadow of the man I was
I realised my mistake

Because you cannot always pick up where you left off

And there is always
A price to be paid

Touch, by Elmore Leonard. A book review.

I just finished reading Touch, a book by Elmore Leonard. I’d read Mr Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing (which I discussed in an earlier post you can find here), but hadn’t had the opportunity to sample his actual writing. Now, I’m glad I did.touch book

Touch is set in 1977. Juvenal, a young, ex-Franciscan Missionary, heals a woman’s blindness in an apartment after she is beaten up by her abusive husband. Bill Hill, former minister and salesman, witnesses the aftermath and believes he’s onto his next big score. Lynn Faulkner, an ex-cheerleader who used to work with Bill is called in to find out if Juvenal is for real, and so pretends to be an alcoholic to get into the alcohol rehab centre he works at. Juvenal reveals he suffers the stigmata, blood weeping from the five wounds Christ received at crucifixion (hands, feet and side).

So, is Juvenal the real deal? Does he heal people? Is his stigmata real?

I’m not going to answer any of those questions, because you really should read this book. Not only is it well written (I sort of expected that, given I’d raved about his Ten Rules of Writing earlier), it pokes fun at religious extremists, schlock media shows and con-men.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s a mystery, a love story and an expose, all in one.

But you should read it and make up your own mind.

Haiku Triplet

Ego Trap

Ego overtook
Speed trap coming up on right
Slowing down, humbly

FHL

Faith, hope, love, always
Far beyond the veil and pale
My belief in you

Trigger

Gripping the gun tight
Trigger finger, so itchy
Targets never know

 

Haiku, haiku, haiku!

I loves it, yes I does, precious! 5/7/5 syllables, precious. Goods enough to eats, it is…

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