. The Pale Rider Comes “So then give to Caesar what is his,” our Lord and Master said, __“And to God give what is his---your sacred soul!” Yet despite these limits placed on him, with drawn sword dripping red, __Bloody Caesar comes to seize complete control. He comes wearing many masks to hide the pallor of his face, __Stripped of flesh with empty sockets for his eyes. Staring blind and grinning grimly at his prey, he would efface __Every trace of their existence with his lies. He burns up their life and legacy with bonfire and with pen, __Using killings fields and famines to erase The dark memory of monstrous deeds committed against men, __Lest his glorious name be splattered with disgrace. Under cover of the night, he buries deep their charred remains, __Using dungeon, ditch, and Dachau’s dens to hide From the record books all mention of the places, dates, and names __Of the hapless victims of his genocide. From all corners of the earth he comes, with bellowed cries of rage, __Armed with axe and dressed in sable robe and cowl. Riding on, his handle changes with each turning of the page, __But he always wears the same imperious scowl. Whether known as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, he comes with heart unchanged, __Always proud, ambitious, hateful, cold, and cruel, Driven by a lust for power, with his appetites deranged __From the human flesh he feeds on for his fuel. Though he tries to hide the truth, it will assuredly be found, __From the putrid odor rising from his deeds And the cries of all his victims who lie underneath the ground, __Though their mounds be covered o’er with many weeds. From the blood of valiant martyrs, who gave all to fight this fiend __May we draw the strength to struggle in our day Against every form of tyranny, to keep it quarantined __And to stand against it when it comes our way. May the word “resist” be ever on our freedom-loving lips, __So that, long before that ghastly shade appears, We are ready to defeat him, though an axe swing from his hips, __With our lives, our love, our prayers, our blood, our tears. We do not deny to Caesar what he rightfully may claim– __Rusty coins with fading images of men. But our souls which bear God’s image, and our lives which bear His name, __To the Sovereign Minter only must be given. So brave Daniel keeps on praying, and three lads refuse to bow __To a god a despot tells them to adore. And two fishermen keep preaching, willing never to kowtow, __As they leave their empty nets beside the shore. For they know they cannot give supreme devotion to a man, __Though he claims the right their hearts and minds to own; So, to Caesar they pay tribute and obey him where they can, __But the things of God they give to God alone. Let us join them in resisting, then, wherever he may ride __This fierce specter, for in due time, he will fall, With his ghoulish grimace shattered, at the turning of the tide, __By the rightful King and only Lord of all. . . The World When I survey this vast, sin-laden world About to break under its crushing load Of crimes unnumbered, offenses untold, Heavy with guilt, and ready to be hurled Into hell’s burning pit, I feel reduced To nothingness before the magnitude Of pain inflicted by the viper's brood Of evils in this rebels’ camp unloosed: Diseases, famines, wars and racial strife, Lying religions that enslave the soul, Dark vices that entice, then take their toll In vile addictions, loss of health and life. Behold the train of those who agonize! More countless than the sand upon the shore; Like crashing waves, their voices ever roar With curses, blasphemies, and anguished cries. Oh, who upon his shoulders could withstand The dreadful weight of such a world as this, Or silence with his heel the viper’s hiss, Or calm the ocean’s roar with outstretched hand? Only that perfect Man who gladly bore Upon his mighty back a rugged cross, And took our blinding pain and endless loss, That we might know God’s favor evermore. . . Martin Rizley grew up in Oklahoma and in Texas, and has served in pastoral ministry both in the United States and in Europe. He is currently serving as the pastor of a small evangelical church in the city of Málaga on the southern coast of Spain, where he lives with his wife and daughter. Martin has enjoyed writing and reading poetry as a hobby since his early youth.