. Village Home after George Enescu's Orchestral Suite no. 3, “Villageoise” Along the tree-lined lane he walks at dusk; What brought him here, he cannot now remember. The chilling breeze, the scent of pine and musk, Suggest a tranquil eve in late September. He saunters slowly, with a sense of wonder, Amazed to see the woodland's deep green hue, The rustic sights, which time had put asunder, Uniting newly, coming into view. Ahead it lies, the village where he bloomed, When first he came into this fleeting world; He smells its air, by chimney smoke perfumed, And sees its scenes, by dying day unfurled. What keen delight!---to view these humble huts Once more, where dear ones lived so long ago; To walk these paths, still pocked with pits and ruts, That lead into the town he used to know. He hears the children playing in the field, Beside the placid river gently flowing, Whose sparkling streams are partially concealed By massive oaks that cloak the water's glowing. The children chase each other and a ball; They fly so freely, laughing as they run. He hears their cries as, each to each, they call, Their echoes dying with the setting sun. Look, there it is! The house he once called home, Still standing where forever it has stood. Whose face is that seen faintly in the gloam, Who from the porch surveys the neighborhood? A few more steps, he's at the village inn; Outside, men chat and chew by the spittoon; Inside, the clients make a lively din, While someone plays a fiery gypsy tune. He wanders past more cottages to where The churchyard lies so somber, dark, and still; A flock of crows, descended on the bare, Cold headstones caw in chorus, loud and shrill. Just then, the solemn tolling of a bell In yonder tower, calling all to prayer, Reminds all passing pilgrims by its knell, “The time is short, let all for heaven prepare!” A few bright beams hang still in shade-filled boughs That gently bob when evening breezes blow; Their rustling leaves call to the lowing cows As swaying branches scatter light below. He sees a nearby log, and there alights To rest a bit, while gazing all around, To smell each wafting scent, take in all sights, Then close his eyes and drink in every sound. How peaceful here he feels, to be at home, The home he knew in distant days long past; Such moments sweet, like honey from a comb, He’d gladly savor long and make them last. And yet, he feels so tired, as if the eve Had sung to him a lovely lullaby; Distressed at his fatigue, he starts to grieve--- A sudden sadness makes him want to cry. He knows not why, until he hears a voice Call to him from a world far away: “I hate to wake you, but I have no choice; It's time to take your meds and start the day.” He feels a gentle hand behind his head Help him to sit upright; he looks around, Propped up against a pillow on his bed, By catheters and cables firmly bound. His pleasant vision fled by light of day, He feels now like a babe ripped from the womb! As tears rolls down his cheeks, he looks away Upon the blank walls of his hospice room. . . Milk and Honey "Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey" ---Exodus 33:3 “A land that flows with milk and honey”--- __Oh, how sweet the thought! What wondrous visions, bright and sunny, __To my mind they brought-- These words with power to instill __In my imagination A sight of every vale and hill __That crowns God's new creation. Yes, even as a child, I knew __These words of prophecy, Beyond fair Canaan, had in view __A world without a sea, That promised home of Abraham’s seed __Where all will dwell in peace, Their hopes fulfilled, their every need __Supplied without surcease. Why did this vision thrill me so? __Perhaps because I knew That milk and sweets are sure to flow __From Him whose Word is true. These emblems serve to reassure __All trusting hearts below Of blessings fresh, delicious, pure __That God will soon bestow. To weary pilgrims in distress __Who faithfully endeavor To cross this blazing wilderness, __God promises forever To plant them in a land ahead __Where streams of endless pleasure, Through lush and verdant fields outspread, __Flow freely, without measure. They gush from crystal springs on high, __And sparkle in the sun, In waves whose infinite supply __Will never cease to run. And from the fertile fields made rich __By such life-giving streams, Rare fruits will grow, the likes of which __Grow only now in dreams. So each new day, when I revive __And pour milk in my glass, Or when I hear a buzzing hive __As through the fields I pass, I see that land, by heaven kissed, __In vision, as I roam; It shines so brightly through the mist--- __My everlasting home! . . 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.