O Say Can’t You Stand?

Questioning Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem

O say can’t you stand
when our flag is unfurled
though our nation is fraught
with both bias and hatred?
Don’t you owe some respect
though you have some regrets
for the rights you enjoy
and the blessings you cherish?

Colin, aren’t you aware
disrespect breeds despair
and the choices you make
may soon come back to haunt you?
O say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
o’er the land of the free
and the home of the brave!

*with apologies to Francis Scott Key

Mining for Gold

What we can learn from Olympic athletes

Those athletes who mine for gold
are born quite gifted (so I’m told).
But skill alone is not enough.
It’s discipline that counts.

You gotta work to win the prize.
A high IQ won’t make you wise.
An inbred talent is a gift,
but practice mines its worth.

You’re musical? Well, that’s a start.
But to achieve a work of art,
you must invest what friends may waste
and spend much time alone.

The same is true in terms of grace.
When we (by faith) the Lord embrace,
we’re gifted and at one with Him
but have a ways to go.

A life of disciplined resolve
is that to which we have been called.
Much time alone with God Himself
fine-tunes a life of faith.

Rio Olympics Reflections

A picture of world peace

In the city where the World Cup
found us watching gifted feet,
athletes from many nations test their skill.
Down in Rio de Janeiro
the Olympic torch burns bright
as the hopes and dreams of hundreds are fulfilled.

There’ll be track and field and swimming,
wrestling, basketball and more.
In the shadow of that giant Christ, they’ll strive
to win the gold or silver
(and if bronze they won’t complain).
Each is grateful that this moment they’re alive.

The eyes of all are focused
on the Summer Games this week.
In a world of terror, such events bring peace.
They find us as one family,
diverse yet fully one.
May the unity of Rio never cease.

The Greatest is Gone

Remembering Muhammad Ali

His ego was like Everest.
He claimed he was the very best.
His mouth (the size of Mammoth Cave)
was loud and proud and brash.

His fists could sting just like a bee.
His feet could dance like poetry.
And as he floated in the ring,
he was a butterfly.

Yet he was born with feet of Clay.
He was dyslexic (so they say).
But he could read injustice
down the street and round the world.

He took his fight where e’er he went.
He straightened out what hatred bent.
With trembling hand “The Champ” reached out
to help the hurting cope.

And though “The Greatest” grew quite weak
and barely had the means to speak,
Muhammad Ali fought for peace
right to the very end.

Peace to his memory!

A Round of Life

Mastering life lessons we learn from golf

Life is like a round of golf.
It’s a walk with valued friends.
It tests your skill and finds you yelling “Fore!”
The bunkers and the hazards
try your patience and your faith
as you anticipate your final score.

You’re grateful for a Mulligan
when you (at times) mess up.
Like “breakfast balls” the Good Lord offers grace.
Perfection is elusive,
but you give it your best shot
in hopes you’ll reach your dream and card an ace.

And when you’ve played your final round
and reach the 19th hole,
you calculate what matters most of all:
Your family and your colleagues
and the memories you made
while chasing after that white dimpled ball.

*This poem was written in memory of die-hard golfer Peter Dierickx who died a few weeks before the 2016 Masters.