. The Dove Returned The dove returned! The Earth is dry; A golden sun lights up the sky. This ark shall rest on land again Each creature freed from cage and pen, Each yearning bird released to fly! The old world’s gone. We’ll not decry God’s judgment though we’ll long ask why He chose us for His mercies when The dove returned. A new world waits. So let us try To bid the sinful past good-bye And start again. The death of men We mourn, yet grateful sing amen That under God’s most gracious eye The dove returned! . . Shall We Gather at the River? When I was young my mother sang a hymn About the River Jordan and God’s throne. The saints had gathered there to worship Him; We joined them singing praise and to atone. I saw this lovely River in my mind, Its waters flowing past where sheep would graze, Where birds might bathe, where worshipers might find Amazing grace despite life’s hurt and haze. But skeptics in the intervening years Have called for war on hymns and saints and God; Condemning hope with empty soulless fears; Declaring faith as valueless as sod. Many claim the River isn’t there--- That those who see it have deluded dreams. Doubters say “perhaps” but just don’t care; While cynics want it dammed for selfish schemes. How are we to gather at the River When they remove the signs that show the way? When they claim love but sneeringly deliver Hatred, condescension and dismay? Can we gather if the path is blocked? I once was taught to turn the other cheek; But when my love of God is cruelly mocked I will not sit in silence. I must speak! Even if I hesitate and quiver, My fear means nothing---I love Heaven more. Yes, my friends, we’ll gather at the River. Not one of them can keep us from its shore! How beautiful, this River none can dam, Which flows beyond a world of spite and sin! Its waters sing of God’s beloved lamb; Its holiness surrounds us from within. . . A Very Gentle, Perfect Knight With April’s piercing showers, Tim was stuck At home as River Town became a maze Of mud, and sports were cancelled due to muck. Though Springtime colors wilted into greys, Tim’s boredom eased with just a bit of luck: A book he found about Ye Olden Days. And so the boy read morning, noon and night Brave tales about Sir Chivalrous, the knight. Sir Chivalrous! From centuries long past When loyalty and valor were revered, When evil was despised and dragons cast Into the sea, no longer to be feared. When chastity and virtue were steadfast And devils either driven out or speared. These tales described the challenge all knights face: To fight for virtue, king and Heaven’s grace. As dreary April turned to sunny May Tim set aside his catcher’s mitt and ball. Instead, he kneeled and swore to never stray From loyalty to Cross and knighthood’s call. With cardboard sword and shield of molded hay He’d vanquish ogres and make bullies sprawl. Sir Tim decided it would be his lot To transform River Town to Camelot! A two-wheel bike served as Tim’s mighty steed On which he rode to seek where evil lurks; To school and parks, wherever there was need To fight for right and humbly do good works. Sir Tim kept track of every noble deed And all the grade-school villains some called “jerks.” He challenged bullies with wise words of shame. Taunted schoolmates came to bless his name. But then one day Sir Tim was overcome While trying to help a sickly boy named Will. A bully mocked Tim’s words, then wrenched his thumb, Destroyed his bike and knocked him down a hill. Tim’s faith was crushed, his noble heart went numb, So home he fled, defeated, shamed and ill. He realized he was just a foolish boy, His cardboard sword a silly broken toy. Tim’s parents nursed his wounds but worried more About this blow to Tim’s crusader soul--- For shame can crush a dream down to its core Corroding faith and leaving just a hole. But then Tim read Sir Chivalrous once more And grasped the theme the old knight would extol: To win is not the reason why I fight. I fight because I know my cause is right. Convinced anew his quest could be achieved, Tim pledged his life to fight with valor sure. As he grew up dolts mocked him as deceived, While cynics called him rash or immature. Tim paid no heed. He lived as he believed. If I were younger and a bit more pure I’d be a knight and follow Tim the Brave. There’s much to fight for---and a world to save. . . Brian Yapko is a lawyer who also writes poetry. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.