Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash

At first, the years began to trudge;
one day marched into the next
with agonizing slothfulness.

My birthdays never seemed to come:
anticipation — growing pains.
Then everything seemed to change.
I do not know how or when,
only that the pages of
the calendar began to turn
with increased velocity
until twelve months could fit into
a three-by-two laminate card.
Now I am old. From this side
my years stretch backward, far beyond
my day of birth and long before
my dad learned how to fly — before
a horse was shot out underneath
my forebear in the Civil War.

Life is the river that flows both ways
without end and in the end
it turns out that we’re all old souls.

©2021 Darryl Willis


a retelling of an old story

Louvre Museum CC BY-SA FR via Wikicommons

i

Love is strong, so I’m told. But justice
is the cornerstone of the world.
Chaos would reign supreme without the rock:
the thing that sets everything to rights.

ii

The voice of God calls out to me to warn
Nineveh, great city, of her fate.
“I have seen her evil: I will wait.”
I turn and run West-ward from his face.

Cain is avenged seven times, but what
of Israel: God’s chosen bride?
Nineveh needs no word; just
someone close enough to dig her grave.

But the breath of God can’t be ignored…


“A broken thing can’t fix itself.” -Odd Thomas (Dean Koontz)

Photo by Silver Ringvee on Unsplash

The earth is a living thing
and we are living in it.
The earth is a broken thing
and we are broken with it.
And so the healing of the earth
is tied up with our own.

But the earth cannot be cured
by those who refuse the cure.

Unmended things cannot mend
until they learn and comprehend
that humble things, those that bend,
those who ask will transcend —
receive the healing deep within.
Only then and only then.

©2021 by Darryl Willis


A poem

Photo by Amber Kipp on Unsplash

There’s a cold spot in this house
and I am lost, without a clue.

It wasn’t always here — the spot,
that is. Twenty years ago,
vague, unnoticed, perhaps it grew.
The house is old and gray,
the memories must be buried
deep — but ghosts? I don’t know.

Early on, we heard the sourceless
steps that echoed in the dark
and sent the children scampering
into their rooms to hide. Now,
we rarely notice; but the spot
is larger — and colder — than before.

The spirit vaguely disturbs by
his silence — or is it her silence?
Do ghosts have…


a poem

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

i am done
with all of this
she shouts
and spits
at the world
face uncovered
free and proud

as am i
proclaims the priest
ex cathedra
selective with his
civil (dis)
obedience

i am too
whispers a nurse
burning tear
covered face
for the lost
and those alone

and i who gasp
my final breath
find that i
have become
hopelessly
helplessly
finally (un)done

Darryl Willis © 2020


Photo by Darryl Willis | All Rights Reserved

The shades still creep into my room.
How many are lost, departed who
are laid and not yet laid in dust
to sleep and take eternal rest?

Some persist, refuse to leave,
while others lie dormant only to rise
during some odd and moonless night,
caught in the corners of my eyes.

Some have yet to die and some refuse
to live. They’re all just ghosts: reluctant
wraiths like sandpaper scratching —
an insistent knock just barely heard
that vaguely unsettles and disturbs.

Darryl Willis © 2020


Photo by Ian Taylor on Unsplash

my day of death
is closer than
my day of birth
and so i find
i must reflect
meditate and
contemplate
what this means
and how do i
proceed into
the lighted dark
that inevitably
waits for me

Darryl Willis © 2020


Photo by Andreea Popa on Unsplash

The lights reflect our faithful joy,
our confidence that all is right.
We tell the story every night
of how God comes into the world.
We light a candle, say a prayer,
rejoice Messiah has drawn near.
While on the corner of seventy-five
we avert our wearied eyes
from the woman with a sign.

Progressive and conservative
wear politics on our sleeves —
whether taxed or tithed we find
excuse to ignore those
with needs. Neither church nor state
can solve the problem in our hearts.
And Messiah still is waiting
on the corner of seventy-five.

© Darryl Willis 2020


Image by Darryl Willis | All Rights Reserved

Will there be anything left of me
you will want to keep —
some scrap of page, perhaps
a bauble — a piece of glass?
Will the words I have gathered and
pieced together be worthwhile —
a thought to keep you warm?
Or will they be destined for the bin
to be tossed and burned with trash?

Will there be something left of me
you will want to keep —
a thought, a smile, a memory,
a laugh, a tear or sigh? …


Photo by Darryl Willis | All Rights Reserved

I must confess, I do not like the cold.
Now that I am growing old, I like it
even less.

And yet, I am grateful for the chill that creeps
in through my window sill and invades
my home.

It gives excuse to sit and think — to wrap
my bones in a throw; to drink my coffee
steaming hot —

You did not consult with me on how
to order sacred space (I’ve made a mess
of my own place
).

So, on this day of sitting still, I thank
you for the cold — reminding me the world
is yours to mold.

I am content to find my place: to rest
myself in the comfort of that grace.

© Darryl Willis 2020

Darryl Willis

Has worked in non-profits for over 36 years and is currently a Regional Director for an international non-profit. He holds an MA from Lipscomb University.

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