His Greatest Seal: Poems by the Rev. Francis Quintin-Arthur

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Knock-Knock, Lord

Cat Out, Mice Play
Cursing With Your Sacred Name
Lord, You Wouldn’t Believe This
Melodious Voice
Terrible Voice
Santa Claus
Third Birth?
Our Innermost Secrets
The Good Thief
The Bad Thief
Where’s the Hem?
Variety in Colors
Thomas, Where Did You Go?
The Difference
Obstinate Thoughts
Death of a Child
Should I Kill Myself?

Cat Out, Mice Play

Many think you are too far away
That you are not coming any time soon
So they do exactly as they please
No effort on Sundays to go praise your name
For they say they’ve no time this day to spare
For worshiping you with the congregation
So another day was added to Sunday
For your communal divine oration
So none can have excuses to give
For staying away on your sabbath day
But they’re busy also on this day
Lord, they swear there’s no time for you at all
Since they take care of other things and go out shopping
And rest in bed to relax for work
Having toiled all week for their families’ upkeep
They deserve their rest just as you did
After they’ve worked almost seven days
Lord, do they think they are also God like you?


Confusion, Lord:
Do you see the confusion down here?
Those you made in your own image to be friends—
Everyone wants to do his own will
And all is chaotic, as you can see.
They walk past you without a smile
And turn away if you look at them.
You talk to them, they pass you by;
You raise your hand to say hello,
They pull away, they think you’re a thief.
A big mess, Lord, that’s what we’re in.
When we park our cars we lock our doors;
If you don’t lock them you have no radio.
Then you make for home and bolt your doors,
Or they’ll steal your shirt right off your back.
Lord, even your churches—you’d be very surprised—
Lord, since you left, we lock them now.
Everyone wants to do whatever he feels like.
Please come down and save us now!
For the confusion here is getting too much,
But with your help all is well again.


Up there in Heaven, in your presence divine,
When the saints congregate for worshiping you,
Do they disturb others in the assembly as we do?
Down here we prattle all the time in church,
And when we’re asked not to talk,
We tell them to go and get lost.
Yes, Lord, such talk right there in your sight!
How can one get lost in there anyway,
When that’s rather where we are encouraged to come?
Shopping, football, we discuss in church;
Some care not at all what they do and say.
Others come from home, from their king-size beds,
And snore even through the melodious hymns.
Lord, is it that we know you so well
That we act thus before your very throne?
Or just that we don’t care at all
About your divine presence in the church?
How come, my Lord: is that not disrespect?
Lord, some of your people are a panic!

Cursing With Your Sacred Name

You revealed your Sacred Name to us
For adoration and evocation
But the misuse of your Divine Name!
I need not mention to you, Lord
That if you really were to turn your head
Each and every time
Your Name is so unnecessarily called out
Lord, your neck, how many turns
To right and left and back and front again
With all kinds of foul words
Accompanying your Sacred Name

Yet so sacred is your Name
When you taught us how to pray
Your first words to us included
“Holy be thy Name”
Help us, Spirit of Wisdom
To realize that
It is in our worst interest
To misuse the Name of Him
On whom we rely
For forgiveness and our very life
Lord, how we do misuse your Sacred Name
And call on the same name
For deliverance and life

When we use your name so unnecessarily
Should we not consider this to be
An insult to your Divine Majesty?
Yes, indeed!

Lord, You Wouldn’t Believe This

Up there in the celestial heights,
Do some leave before divine service is over?
Down here, Lord, come and see for yourself:
As soon as some receive the Bread of Life,
They turn their back on you at once,
Chewing on the Bread of Life on their way outdoors.
Some want to be the first to get to their cars
To be the first to get away from your house,
And some leave for no good reason,
Just that they’re used to leaving at a specific time.

They talk of football, and they gossip, and,
Lord, gum—chewing gum—they chew in your church.
Sometimes they make bubbles with it too.
They seem not to care at all that you’re right there,
And I deem those acts to be very shameful.
Income tax, gossip and chewing gum in church—
Lord, teach us to be wise.

Melodious Voice

Oh, did I want to praise you in song!
And this girl stood beside me;
She sang a song in praise of you.
I joined in that song to your glory.
And, Lord, her voice, a melodious voice—
But my voice in comparison to hers
Was no less than night is to day.
Lord, I could hear myself trying to sing
But this girl’s voice was much too nice.
I felt a bit jealous at that,
For I wished I had such a voice,
But still I thought, “I’ll continue to sing,
Unintentionally breaking most of the rules
Of such well-constructed music.”
And a little thrill I got out of it
As in a chuckle I thought to myself,
“I am getting even with Almighty God
For having given me the voice of a goat.”
But I praise you still with it always,
And your praise is a delight to my voice,
So I’ll join in songs of praises sweet.
I’ll sing to you a song of Love
Whenever I feel like praising Your sacred name,
And so I sing to you all the while.
Be my voice sonorous or cacophonic,
I’ll still raise my grateful voice to you,
Who gave me the voice to praise your name.

Terrible Voice

I hear a song from a squeaky voice;
Can you hear him sing his songs to you?
And the angels who sing around your throne
With angelic voices so heavenly sweet,
Do these hear this man’s rough voice in song?
My voice is not that great either,
But this man’s voice I’ll match e’en in sleep.
Discordant tunes he sings all the while,
But seems to enjoy glorifying your name.
Can you hear this pitiful squeaky voice
Raised in solemn songs to your Holy Name?

Lord, I believe you hear everyone’s voice
Who adores you with truth in the heart,
So it matters not what voice one does possess,
For whenever he sings his songs to you
He sings from the very bottom of his heart,
And his songs reach your divine ears,
For he’s not ashamed to use what you gave to him
To aid him to soar to the heavenly heights above.

Santa Claus

Does he exist? So as to bring me a gift on your birthday?
Lord, how old is Mr. Claus anyway?
And how come he’s not dead yet?
And his belly, Lord—ooh, la la!—so big!
His pot belly speaks very loud enough
That there’s a lot of food and beer in there.
Piled therein must be years of carousing,
Probably mostly during Christmastide,
When all we do is eat and drink
And dance for joy on your birthday,
When we all give gifts to each other
And expect others to do the same for us.
Under your tree, Lord, all kinds of gifts,
From toys and rings to clothes and shoes.
Every shut eye is not asleep,
And as they say, “Every good-bye ain’t gone.”
Kids go to sleep with one eye alert
To peek at Claus coming down the chimney,
Bringing along his belly and the sack
Filled to the brim with all kinds of gifts.
All get their share with smiling faces.
And that’s your birthday, not our day of birth!
So where is your birthday gift, my good Lord?
Were you forgotten again this year
On this day meant especially for you?

Third Birth?

Lord, please rest my mind;
Am I born again?
I am a Christian, Lord, you know,
Or rather, “Christian” is my title.
I try to be a Christian,
And a good Christian many times.
I go to church a lot—
But—Lord, sometimes I get lazy.
I do my best to love.
I try, Lord, to follow you
At times I pass, sometimes I fail.
But all in all, my Lord
I believe I am a good person.
But, Lord, really, am I born again?

These friends I grew up with
Do know me very well.
We learnt religion together in school
And we joined in boyish pranks.
We laughed and cried and fought and prayed.
But, Lord, that was long ago,
And we went our various ways.

I had not seen them for many years.
On the street they met me a while ago,
Yelling one after another in loud voices,
“My friend, are you born again?”

Well, was I dumbfounded, my good Lord,
For they knew very well I was born again,
As I was well aware they’d all been baptized.

All of a sudden they’ve been reborn all over again.
Lord, please tell them I am born again.

Our Innermost Secrets

Do the saints above
Who lived down here with us
From whom we kept our consciences closed
View our secret lives and read our thoughts
Since they are now pure souls?
In heaven there must be
No clandestine activities
For none has anything to hide
From the satisfied, joyful residents
But here on earth below
Lord, the things we sometimes do
And hide to do them too
Thinking no one will find out
Lord, you’re aware of all
Even before the thought emerges
But the happy saints with you
Including those we knew well here
Lord, do they view our acts?
And what are their thoughts on us
Walking to and fro down here?

The Good Thief

The good thief who died on the cross
And spoke to You before he died
Refusing to curse like the other thief
Asking for Your mercy on him at last
Lord, this thief—this lucky man
Who stole and stole from his fellow men
Repenting at the very last minute
How’s he treated in Heaven up there—
Is he as popular as he is on earth?
We know that he steals no more
For there’s nothing to want to pinch up there
And if there were, he’d do none of that anyway
But, Lord, this man who did steal his way
Even up into the celestial heights—
Is he now a big shot in heaven
Since he came at the recommendation
Of You, blessed Lord, Yourself, on the cross?

The Bad Thief

Lord, what happened to the bad thief on the cross?
Was he saved, or didn’t he make it?
How sad it must be for one
To die and not see your face, my Lord.
But what happened to that thief,
The bad thief on your left?
You are a forgiving God,
Advising us not to hold grudges
But to forgive seventy times seven times.
Think me not too curious, Lord,
But the bad thief close to you on the cross—
What happened to him at last?
You showed your love for the other one,
Who also stole but died professing his faith in you,
And you promised him no less than Heaven.
But the other one—the cursing thief,
Who cursed and blasphemed till the end,
And helped to make your hurt more keen,
Keener than was meant to be—
What happened to this cursing, bad thief, Lord
Who died crucified on your left-hand side?


To whom else, my Lord?
To whom else would I resign myself?
And where else, my Lord?
Where else would I go but to you?
I came as an infant
Unaware even of such stage
I have gone through my childhood
I have sampled the joys
The cheer in the play of youth
The proud boast of parents
I have worked night and day
I have tried my best to love
To love you above all things
There are times, I confess, I failed
When I placed others before you
And even at times I placed things
Ordinary things before you, my Lord
But when all’s done and said
My Lord, you know me well and through
You know me more than I know myself
So teach me, Lord, to know myself
That I may give to you all that I am
So you can do what you please with me

Where’s the Hem?

All touched you, Lord
Many men and women
Boys and girls also
Gathered around your alb
So hemming you in

They saw the chance
So, why, they’d try
Might as well try
There’s nothing to lose

But He’s the Lord

She came to Him
Shoving her way
She’d heard that her Lord
Would heal anyone
Who came to Him
With faith for cure

She touched you, Lord
With hand and faith
They looked for a cure
Without much faith
They held you too
But all in vain

She got well
When she touched your garb
We get well
When we come in faith

Which part, then, Lord
Did all the others touch?

Variety in Colors

Man does acknowledge:
Life is such that
It necessarily must entail
Variety in things we do.
We switch our clothing;
We change our meals.
We do get bored at times
Looking at the same things
Over and over and over again.
We desire this spice in life—
We do agree to this.
So why can’t we discern
That the color of human skin—
Black or white or gold—
Was formed in the wisdom of Your mind
To provide beauty and variety
For the inhabitants of the earth?

Thomas, Where Did You Go?

The disciples were so apprehensive
They huddled together behind bolted doors
And dared not step outside
How come, then, one dared out
Unaccompanied by any of them?
And what was so important
That he ventured out?
Did he not fear for his life?
Or he was so full of faith then
That he was scared not of the danger outside?
And what became of his apparent audacity?
Was it not commensurate
With his faith in Christ the Lord
Who told him He would rise again?
So then why this unbelief
Even when his ten most respected friends
Assured him collectively
That the Lord had appeared to them?
Did he need His reappearance
To manufacture a belief
Or did he require His appearance
That he might know beyond his faith?
Why seek on earth this knowledge
That’s meant solely for the heavens above—
Or was it meant for my stronger belief?

The Difference

Mother Teresa was a baby, Lord—
A baby, as we know.
She was born of woman
And cried and crawled.
She teased her little friends,
They teased her back,
They laughed and ran.
She went to school,
She swept and did dishes,
She breathes the same air,
And walks on the same earth.
She is as I am—
But what makes her so different?
Is it her love for you, Lord?
Is it her love for man?
Not too proud to give her love
To all she meets—
Even the beggars on the street,
Just as her Master came
On earth to love everyone.
It is the love she gives,
The love of God.


I just met a friend
I think that he is well off
Probably has more than enough
My Lord, about ten more cents

Lord, help us to detach ourselves
From the extra cents that we may have
To realize that money should not ever
Replace you, who gave all to us
For how fast we can forget
When you bless us with some extras
So that we’d be comfortable
Then we think nothing about you, the good Lord
From whom we get all that we have

Obstinate Thoughts

In my orisons
Unsolicited thoughts arrive
Where from is anyone’s guess

On purpose I rose to come
For sole adoration due Your name

So depart, unwanted thoughts
You bid me heed you
But it’s time for ignoring you
Yet you linger in stubbornness

May it be that my intentional pleas
Seep through these earthly thoughts
Springing upward like the incense
Come to Your throne well sifted
For Your loving approval
And in accord with Your will divine
Otherwise Your will is good enough for me

Death of a Child

A mere child has died
Lord, what did he do?
He’d just come down to earth
Had not even had the chance
To learn of sinful ways
He did not yet know
How to tread forbidden ways
In speech, only angels
Could top the sounds he made
He hurt no one, Lord God
He knew not what hurt was
Yet you took him away from earth
Lord, you took him away from us
You knew this would happen
For you know all things very well
Then why did you let him come to earth
To give us joys that fade so soon?
My Lord, may I please ask
Why this child had to leave?

I ask you this, Lord, for I know not sometimes
What to make of the love you have for me
Especially when things seem not to go my way
Even though I know you love me very much
You leave me still on earth, sad
And bid me go on with my life without him
Your child, my Lord, that’s what he is,
And he was yours before he was mine
For I knew not that such a gift was
Until you gave him to me at his birth
You lend to me, and take away, for all is yours
So let me not in the least presume
That I can be wiser than you are
So if this child you demand of me
I give him to you unreservedly
Placing him and all that he is
In the tender mercy of your Love
For there he has no other choice
But to live in joy with you forevermore
But one thing only I ask of you
Your loving Spirit to comfort me
As I await my turn to be called by you
To be with him and all the saints
In your sacred presence up there on high

Should I Kill Myself?

I feel lost.
I feel dejected.
The world looks empty.
Why did I come into this world?
To suffer like this?
At least death looks calm.
It looks like sleep,
And I want to sleep,
So why not take my life away?

Stop my thinking.
Take my life away.
Lord, it is not my life.
It’s your life—
You gave it to me.
How can I give it to you so violently?
Lord, I shall not shove
Right in your Holy Face
A gift you have given to me.

So I will rise up, Lord.
I will call for help—
Anyone Lord, anyone—
Because I do intend
To make my life worthwhile again.

I shall try to swallow my pride.
I shall prove to all who doubt
That you are with me
And that you care enough for me.
So, look, here I go, Lord,
To face the world
As bold as my might will allow.
I’ll prove to myself my worth
That I’m worth much more.
So here I go, my Lord.
Watch me come, you world out there.
I come with strength and hope from God,
And I come to live the rest of my life
Surrounded by His Love,
Never to consider this selfish death of suicide.


A word with you
Let us never seriously consider this
It is the worst of dejections
One of seven capital sins
For those gone before, we pray
You are all-merciful
And we are sure you’ll take care of them
’Cause some of them are so very young
Lord, they know not what they really do
For those thinking about it
Please take this thought far away from their minds
And help them understand
That your love is enough for them to live
And that sometimes when it seems to us
That you have withdrawn yourself from us
You are really close by waiting for us
To turn around and come to you
Lord, did it not even happen to your very own Son
When his humanity was so hurt
He did cry out loud to you
Probably in the deep voice of a middle-aged man
For indeed he was such a man
He cried, my Lord, from His heart to you
In His own words:
Eloi, Eloi
Lama Sabachthani
Then He bowed His sacred head
To die for us all to live
For ever and evermore


If I had one choice
And only one choice
For the usage of my hands
I’d gladly raise them to the skies
Morning, noon and night
To give thanks to Him above
Who gave me my two hands
And the choice I willed to make

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