The First Funeral

It is with wonder when I think
Of Adam, Eve, no childhood grown,
Standing before the living God,
Alive with language, all words known.

It is with wonder, then, to think
They could – not taught by human tongue –
Speak out and all the world command;
And world want more of what they sung.

It is with wonder, so I think
That that perfection came undone:
Was worse to disobey – more worse
Still consequences killed their son?

It is with wonder now I think
How Adam strove manfully to hold
His Eve – mother! – breaking down
As touching Abel all his cold.

It is with wonder shall I think
Of earth and that first funeral?
One day ahead, no longer myth,
And God raises One, quite literal.


Seeing His Glory

“Who could ever tire of seeing his glory?” Sirach, 42.25

Seeing His Glory, who could tire?
Not me! I nearly died (and some)
But now I live. He touched me then –
To unsay that I’d be a liar.

His Glory? At distance – like a fire,
But not some match: instead a star,
Consuming, moving, eternal, fixed,
Whose light’s remote and full, entire.

And seeing such provokes desire:
As far as polar stars may be,
Yet their distance entrances, draws,
Exciting more the more retires.

Something paradoxical, dire
Even, the strangeness of His ways
I cannot understand, but see –
His Glory, I must see, requires.


Not So Far Away

“Not from that place where highest thunder roars
down to the very bottom of the sea,
is any mortal’s sight so far away

as my eyes were from Beatrice there …” Paradiso XXXI. 73-76

Not so far away, so very far away
From that place, for which I’ve scanned ceaselessly,
And hoped always today would be the day,
That I would change, be changed, and not be me.

So far away, so very far, it is
Which is not, because yet hasn’t come to be;
Only, it seems so, since I still miss
That state of blessing that’s my full destiny.

Far away, very far, who sees what end?
No thing tells me love’s the word, and so she’s
The vision to which my sight and longings tend;
If she – sweet she – turned, reached, touched – I might see.

Away, far, beyond all I could deserve;
Stuck here, bound in flesh and fate and not free;
Subject to each whim, nothing in reserve,
But through that distance, she to hear my plea.


James Sale is a leading expert on motivation, and the creator and licensor of Motivational Maps worldwide. James has been writing poetry for over 50 years and has eight collections of poems published, including most recently, The Lyre Speaks True, his metaphor for the paradoxes of being a poet. He can be found at and contacted at james@motivational He is the winner of First Prize in the Society’s 2017 Competition and regularly writes reviews for the Society.


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8 Responses

  1. Satyananda Sarangi

    Greetings James Sir!

    Enjoyed all the three – beautiful and thoughtful in their own ways. However, I felt more connected to ‘ Seeing His Glory’ that leads me to write something instantaneously :

    The glories of giant statues and fame,
    They wither by and by from Time’s record;
    The glories by birth and those by the name,
    Wither faster, obscured until explored.

    Some may linger to find a worthy heir,
    Some depart in a way none can behold;
    And few still retain the flickering flare,
    But one glory lives that cannot be told.

    One glory that from heaven’s walls descends,
    At whose behest, fortune lays his great hand
    Upon man and Time from his treasure lends
    A golden touch and rest glories expand.

    © Satyananda Sarangi, 2017.

    Regards and New Year wishes.

    • James Sale

      Thank you Satyananda – and I am pleased that the poem inspired you to write more too.That is the spirit! Happy New Year to you too – 2018 will be fabulous.

  2. Amy Foreman

    Beautiful, as always, James! You write poetry that cuts through this third dimension we live in, poetry about what really matters. It’s been a joy to see several of the offerings that have come in to SCP in the past weeks . . . great metaphysical poetry that points us to transcendent Truth. Thank you for these, James!

    • James Sale

      Thank you Amy. As you know, like attracts like, and I am a big admirer of your work, which to me is about real things. Paradoxically, of course, the things that are real are not things, for they are the spiritual realities that underpin our lives. As the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead says: “All the world which lies below has been set in order and filled in contents by the things which are placed above; for the things below have not the power to set in order the world above”. No, but the things above do have the power – invisible as they be – to set in order us below! Have a great new year and keep on writing; I look forward to reading more of your work.

  3. David Hollywood

    What marvelous poetry with which to commence the New Year, full of beautiful philosophical senses and meanings. Terrific.

    • James Sale

      Thank you David – that is really kind of you to say so, and I appreciate it. Happy new year – let’s carry on the writing mission!

  4. Margaret Coats

    Beautiful symmetry and repetition in “The First Funeral.” Those features help understand that there is somewhere to go from the “consequences” of the Fall in Abel’s death. And you arrive there in such a short poem! How centuries stretch between “One day ahead” and “no longer myth”! In the sculpture, we can see it in Eve’s hand lovingly supporting her son’s head. It doesn’t fall, and we see the face. Something similar to the distance between the speaker and Beatrice in the last poem. I understand why you grouped these three poems: “the strangeness of His ways/I cannot understand, but see”

  5. James Sale

    Thanks Margaret – strangely appropriate that your poem has ‘resurrected’ my own, which has been lying in its 2017 SCP tomb all this while! Your comments are much appreciated, especially realising the rationale for the grouping: each poem points towards the mystery that we see ‘in part’, but one day hope to fully experience; indeed, will experience – for He is able …


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