I Cannot Fear Death
‘Tis the season for celebrating the dead,
for exalting such ills as horror and dread.
As for me, I give fright no place in my mind,
for a lasting light in my darkness has shined.
So let come whatever the ending may bring—
the grave has no vict’ry and death lost its sting.
The day of all saints hasn’t come, but it will
when, caught up to Glory, we meet with a thrill
the once-humble Servant who bore all our pain,
now crowned King of kings, He forever shall reign.
I cannot fear death, for it’s only the end
of suffering and sin. After that, I will spend
all my days without end in worship and praise
to Him who alone has all power to raise
the dead from their graves. What? Not buried? What then?
What about the most unfortunate of men?
the thousands whose bodies were claimed by the sea?
or those whom explosions mingled with debris?
or atomized until no trace could be found,
not one shred of bone to be placed in the ground?
Can scattered ashes be gathered up again
to create anew every woman and man?
Allow me to ask better question than this:
What need has the builder of old edifice?
The one who created the blueprint can make
the building again. Can God not undertake
to also remake our feeble jars of clay,
He who made all things in a week less one day?
Jesus holds my life in the palm of His hand,
and He has my death on His calendar planned.
Before time began, He claimed me as His own;
in my mother’s womb shaped each muscle and bone,
He started the patter of my hidden heart,
formed fingers and toes like a fine work of art,
gave me an intelligent mind quick to learn—
the tiniest detail, His greatest concern.
And He wrote the code that determined my height,
body shape, and the hand with which I would write.
My Maker gave me every like and distaste
that makes me unique from the rest of my race.
He knew if I’d grow to be heavy or thin;
with artistic skill He pigmented my skin,
selected my gender, and colored my eyes—
How could aught in my life take Him by surprise?
And while He ordains every step that I take,
He gave me a will free to choose and to make
mistakes. For love that’s demanded is not love.
I choose to accept or deny God above
the glory that’s due to His wonderful name.
And though, as Creator, it’s His right to claim
all control of my life, He wants me to yield,
that His character in me might be revealed.
By grief I become well acquainted with joy,
for hardship is heaven’s unlikely envoy;
and storms are most surely producers of strength
for greater endurance, though greater the length.
I would not know day, had I never known night;
in darkness I cherish the faintest of light.
For there is no darkness that can’t be dispelled
by one little candle that’s bravely upheld.
And yet, even darkness for me holds no fear;
I’m never alone, for my best Friend is here.
Though all hell break loose, I can lie down in peace,
for trust often proved causes faith to increase.
I know that in heaven my soul He shall keep
when He has awakened me from my last sleep.
Copyright © 2020 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved
Welcome to my series, Incremental Poetry, where each week the featured poem will be one line longer than the one I share the week before. I have no idea how long I’ll keep this up, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Thank you for stopping by.
Mathnawi, or Masnavi, believed to have come from an Iranian form around the 4th to the 10th Century
Subject usually heroic, romantic, or religious
Any number of rhyming couplets
Isosyllabic: usually 11 syllables per line, but may be 10
Rhyme scheme: aa bb cc dd, etc.