A Poem of Encouragement, by Joseph Pote
Battle scarred and bone weary,
The vet’ran warrior stands alone,
Upon a barren hillock,
Waiting for the dawn.
Tattered cloak pulled close about him,
Face set in grim determination,
A single tear coursed down his cheek,
Toward unknown destination.
How came I to this lonely tor,
To this land of bitter sorrow?
Whence hath fled my lady love
And bright hope of tomorrow?
Alas, the dragon took my love,
Fleeing both into the night.
To him her will hath been surrendered,
The battle lost without a fight.
“Protect each other faithfully,
And desert each other not!”
This charge was given by our King,
Ere we left Camelot.
Ever did I court my love
And ‘gainst the dragon fought.
While she turned sword upon my back
And did the dragon court.
Long did I fight that crafty beast.
Not once did I yield ground.
Yet now I find the battle’s over,
And vict’ry ‘twas not found.
Have I lost the battle then,
Though fought courageously?
N’er did I desert my post;
Yet my post deserted me!
A single dove alighteth near,
Snow white in the graying dawn.
A scroll loosed from its gentle clasp
Drops softly to the lawn.
The seal bears My King’s signet,
And the flowing script is His alone.
The ink shines forth a fiery red
Like the gold upon His throne.
“My own dear knight,” the letter reads,
“Be not discouraged or dismayed.
I have seen thy courage and thy love,
And heard thee when thou prayed.”
“This battle’s over, it is true,
But the war continues on.
I yet have need of thy sword and spear.
Victory must be won!”
“Other knights, though warring hard,
Grow weary of the fight.
Enter thou into the fray;
Grant them some respite.”
“I need thee to My Herald be.
Speak comfort to the wounded.
Strengthen those whose will grows faint.
Encourage the disconcerted.”
I close the scroll and bow my head,
Giving thanks unto My King,
Asking Him for strength of will,
And heart for minist’ring.
Hark, what sound is this,
Falling sweet upon my ears?
Ne’r twas sunrise heralded so,
Not in two thousand years!
I turn my gaze toward the bright’ning east,
Seeking source of this trumpet blast.
Not even the sun can shine so bright!
My King is coming at last!
Shining argent ‘pon a noble steed,
Leading forth a mighty host,
He crests the east horizon,
Whom my heart desireth most!
The brightness of His coming
Scatters mists of despair.
I see battles waging round about,
Warring ‘gainst the dragon’s lair.
Heart filled now with courage,
I quickly mount my steed,
Charging toward the battle
Where I see the greatest need!
From deep within my bosom
A war cry ‘scapes my throat,
“Sharpen now your weapons!
Mend your mail coat!”
“Cast aside your weariness!
Be strong! Hold firm! Stand fast!
The battle’s almost over!
The King is coming at last!”
I wrote this poem in January of 2002, just three months after the finalization of a divorce that marked the end of a 17 year marriage. It was written as a way of expressing some of the mixed emotions I was experiencing of sorrow combined with hope, and out of recognition of God’s redemptive calling in the midst of a dark period of life.
Since then, I have found myself going back to this poem, as a source of encouragement. When going through a difficult period, as I feel myself sliding toward discouragement, I sometimes quote this poem to myself, and find it a refreshing reminder that what I am experiencing is not unique to me, but common to mankind; that others are as much in need of encouragement as I am; and that the battle will not last forever.
The King is Coming!
Whether He is coming to reclaim the earth, or coming to reclaim my heart, or both, He is coming soon!
What favorite poems, songs, or Bible passages do you turn to for encouragement when facing difficult situations?