What is the essence of a man’s life?
Allen W. Snider
© 2013

What is the essence of a man’s life?
It is measured in the legacy a man leaves behind because he has lived it,
not in wealth or property which are easily gone,
but in friends and family of the soul,
in laughter and shared dreams,
in generosity and mercy and justice,
in stories told and strangers made friends,
and neighbors made family.
It is measured in hospitality and trust.
It is measured by faith in what can be,
and fortitude and patience,
rather than surrendering to failure before we start.
From where comes such things?
From the seeds God has planted in every life
for us all to nurture
and cultivate until our smile
grows bigger than we are
and our shared laughter
and songs echo through space
to reach heaven.
What is the essence of a man’s life?
It is measured in the warmth of his heart toward his neighbor
and in his faithfulness toward God who gives us Christ.

Ah.  A Song.

Allen W. Snider
© 2014

Ah. A song to be sung
A song about Jesus and God
and hills and valleys and churches ... a song
about rivers and streams and oceans and light
and dark and children and men and women and
weddings and baptisms
Ah. A song to sing
about love and mercy and grace and family and God and Jesus
perfect love for imperfect people and laughter and tears
and rejoicing and hurt and life and death and loss
. . . a cross and graves emptied by God’s love.
Ah. A song to sing while we wait for things to be as they will be
voices in harmony some rich some discordant
some just loud some deep some bright
some troubled and some glad
singing a song to be sung at a time like this as we stand
or we sit or kneel or crawl to the edge of mortality
and from our bellies peer beyond in curious and
hopeful faith
Ah. We sing heaven rich with eternal and mysterious grace.
We sing.

Childhood Suspended

Allen W. Snider
© 2004

Echo of memories beckon 

Tears broken fences faded
Dreams barefoot childhood
innocence arrested weighed
Images anguish guilt
Blisters and callouses and
Grownup matters death illness
Cancer sorrow so serious too
Serious for his years her years


Childhood hung up in a closet
Waiting to be worn at a later
Time crosses to bear crosses to
Remember tears drawn from a well
Deep of childhood craving
Patiently for grey hair wrinkles in
All the tired places on her tired
Face curl up and remember lost days
made for play laughter and childhood
dreams not nightmares dreams real
Dreams waking up laughing

The Shining

Allen W. Snider
© 2010

Lord God, you call us each by
a name you knew before
we were born. We have never
been hidden from you and
we never will be hidden from
you. You have known our
joys, our fears, our reluctance to
trust after hurt. You have
known the fierceness of our
anger and the depth of our
sorrow. Lord God, you know
the truth, the limit of our
faith hidden in our
religion. You know
the things we truly
love and the things we should
but do not. Lord God, Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost, shine
the light of your love where
it is dark to chase away fear
of those things hidden
inside that you already know. Amen.

I Have Known Hearts
by Allen W. Snider
© 2011

I have known hearts like carcasses, driven into barren desert, parched by spirit-driven winds and scattered across sands to be scattered again. I have known hearts like dainty pools in which others slake their thirst. I have known
hearts nearly too weak to beat, nevertheless pushing
some faint reflection of being. I have known
hearts erupting like volcanic convulsion, devastating
everything unfortunate in their path. I have known
hearts like great oaks with roots in deep nurture hidden and branches bearing
lodging and sustenance for those who shelter therein. I have known
hearts too often like a suckling child, deliberately cognizant
of a need to provide some emotional and erotic pleasure
to the breast that feeds its unslaked hunger.

Usher Me Up Close
Allen W. Snider
© 2013

Ushers, usher me up close to God.
My eyes and mouth are dirty.
I need the water that washes clean
I am sick in my heart and my soul
I need to feel the heat of the light
I am hungry in my soul
I hear they keep Jesus alive here.
Let me smell the bread and the wine
his body and blood broke and shed.
Usher, usher me up close to God.

Said Goodbye

Allen W. Snider
©  2001

Said Goodbye, we did without believing it was really Goodbye
because in faith it is not Goodbye.
Said see you later because in faith it really is see you later with whatever eyes the later
might have in what lies beyond this to see you later.
Said I enjoy your company knowing that it is because of a kinship of souls
designed, fostered and nurtured by divine Providence.
Thought my regrets knowing there were things left undone, unsaid, unhoped without time now
to do them, say them, hope for them except that in faith things yet undone
might be done by the One who really can.

Reach out and take my words
And hold them close to your heart and know that they are true
enough for life, enough for forgiving, for hoping, for believing.
Words drift from beyond Good byes to say I love you in the place of see you later
You were strength you were soul mate
Touch my hand and we will believe We will believe and know together that
hands that should
Reach out now to hold those who must be held
with a warmth that now comes from past the Goodbyes in the
see you laters in the place where kinships of heart and soul are
made possible by the breath of Creator God.