Penumbra: Knights (part two)

“The monsters?” The boy asked trembling. The first agent, Bedivere, drew a long silver flashlight from his coat. The end of the flashlight had two projections that made it seem like the guard of a sword. 
“You know where they are right?” Bedivere asked. “Lance and I will protect you. Knights honor.” He brought his hand to his heart and Lancelot did the same. 
“Presidents don’t have knights.” The boy said and looked at the closet. 
“Quite right. Kings do.” Bedivere nodded. “But we do work for the president, at least he pays us. We are Knights of another King though.” He smiled. He flicked on the flashlight and a beam of silver light filled the air for about three feet. The boy gaped. Then he folded his arms. 
“Daddy says there aren’t really monsters.” 
“Your dad doesn’t see them the same. Most adults don’t. They are all kinds of different ways they look. Anything that can frighten you can be a monster. Which is why the king and president send us. Sometimes the monsters don’t leave.”
Bedivere took a defensive stance between the closet and the boy. Lancelot threw the door open and the lights flickered. The beast manifested from the door way. It was a mess of tentacles and skulls that stretched out of the door. A tentacle lanced out and Bedivere sliced it off. The tentacle dissolved as the light destroyed it. The agents blade left a shadow on the wall and the boy looked and saw a knight in armor silhouetted against the wall. Lancelot ignited his flashlight and sliced into the beast as well. Bedivere charged forward and stabbed his blade to the hilt in the beast. It writhed then dissolved to dust. The knights deactivated their blades and sheathed them. 
“Well jobs done.” Bedivere announced. “He won’t be back. Well there are other monsters to slay. Don’t worry. If you ever need us we’ll be back.” The father stood in the door way absolutely aghast. 
“Who are you?”
“You’ll forget, like a bad dream. So, call us Penumbra.” And with that the two agents walked out into the rain and disappeared. 
By TKH Hamilton
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Sickness in sonnet

How beaten, battered, broke can one heart be?
As stomach bold rebels against the rest,
My body shakes ’til I can’t even see
Heart hammers ‘gainst my ribs to open chest.
Oh broken heart why will you not be still?
What drug is it that does attend heart sick?
My breath comes cold from lungs too weak to fill
My empty mind makes friends think I am thick.
Physician make thyself all full and whole!
Mix ash of rose with sweat of nerve wrack palm,
Then pour some lovers’ laugh to mixing bowl!
Let sorrow, sadness, heartbreak boil till calm!
If drug or spell may fix this body ill 
I’d drink until the sorrow it did kill

By TKH Hamilton

Letters I’ll never send: Dear Ex

Darling,

I never thought I’d address another letter like that. I never thought I’d write a letter like this. The truth of the matter is I’m not over you. It feels as though either I’m a mad man in a sane world or else I am a sane man in a mad world. Everything around me feels so normal and yet there is conflict. Nothing within me feels normal. You took with you all my happiness in one fell swoop. Though you could not have stolen my joy, for that is of course in Christ rooted, I fear I have lost track of it. Beyond that page, I am an exile from the band hall way again. That is every fault of yours and no fault of your doing. It is of my own volition that I refrain from returning there, for fear not of what you will do but for fear of you. Seeing you is a hammer driving a spike in my heart or a twisting dagger in my lungs. Yet, beyond, every other thing seems normal. It is, and perhaps should be, as though the event which shattered my little world and heart was not even big enough to cause a ripple amongst my peers. I realize it is egocentric to expect anything else, yet it is hard to accept. I feel as though I am a mad man amongst the sane and no one even notices my madness.

All of my friends and family say I ought to have abandoned all hope of you. Yet should I? I suppose the question seems odd, allow me to rephrase it. Should I give up on something I loved and wanted to fight for without fighting for it? Is that a manly or even human thing to do? Doesn’t even a wren fight back against a falcon when it’s nest is invaded and that which it loves is jeopardized? Beyond that, if I give up hope in you, will I not be left in despair? If I abandon hope then what point is there? Certainly all my peers expect me to find some point swiftly and work with such. They see what are the products of this broken heart. They witness all changes in my demeanor. They worry as they read my writing. They each advise me to move beyond you. To forget you like some foul nightmare, some fantasy which can only harm me in the night if I allow it to. Yet even by my own standards, many of these are amoral, atypical, or sick individuals, hardly the peers in which I ought to trust my own well being. Yet I know if I had no hope of you, in any way shape or form, I could not predict the results. Perhaps it would be liberating, maybe it would be crippling. Maybe it would let me pick up the scattered pieces of my heart, or perhaps it would blow it like chafe in the wind. I don’t know. I know though that the  quantum state I am in, where hope and despair sit juxtaposed in an impossible balance is unstable. My heart is the cat in the box. It is both dead and despairing and alive and hopeful and loving and loathing and in pain and in pleasure and good and evil until you open it up and collapse a hundred thousand quantum waves of me in a single explosion. Then either I may from the ashes of that explosion rise like a Phoenix, or else I’ll be left with my heart as but a dead cat. Yet still, when every evil departs from Pandora’s box are we not left with hope? 

If ever you loved me write me back. No strike that, rather, for all the aloha I gave you, write me back. Without an answer I am torn in a million directions. I write all this in hope for some end to this pain and madness I am in. 

With all love,

Your “Poet Player”,

TKH Hamilton

Penumbra: Knights (part one)

“Daddy!” the little voice rang through the dark. The young father shuffled down the hall and opened his sons bedroom door. The sound of sobbing punctuated by the gasps of breathing formed a kind of tragic symphony. The man flipped on the light and saw his son’s wide open eyes. The boy leapt from the bed and grabbed onto him. The boy howled and screamed as he clung to his leg. The man knelt down and cradled his son. He thought to himself God I need help. 
Ding
Dong
The door bell sang out. The father sat his son on the bed and ran to the door. He opened it up and saw two young men standing on the step. They each had black trench coats on and a brimmed hat. They looked as though they had been drawn from a 1920s detective drama. Without speaking the two drew open their trench coats with their left hands and procured ID with their right. In sync they flipped open their badges. 
“Hello sir.” One spoke, his voice deep but the sort of false deep that children use to sound like adults. “We are psychologists from the department of health.”
“Could we come in?” The other spoke almost sounding bored.
“Yes it would be ironic if health officials caught a death of cold.” The first grinned. The man let them into his house. They stepped in as one, almost a unit. 
“Can you show us your son’s room?” The second asked impatiently. 
“My son?” The man replied. 
“Yes sir, you see our statisticians have developed a psychomathematical equation which allows us to predict the physiological and emotional crisis of the population based upon various demographics. Your number came up as likely needing our specific assistance so we were dispatched.” The first explained with a wave of his hand as though dispensing some common and obvious knowledge. The man nodded, he didn’t understand a word the young official had said but didn’t want to let on. 
“Makes sense. My son is this way.” He led them down the hall to where his son sat in his room. The boy sniffled as they walked in. His eyes grew wide.
“Daddy.” He pointed, “who are they?”
“These men are…” He struggled to find the word to give his son. 
“We’re here to find out if there are monsters in your house.” The first man said. He had squatted down to eye level with the boy and smiled. “The president sent us to come and make sure there are no monsters here.” He nodded. His voice was calm and gentle and oddly sincere. The sons eyes went wide in amazement. 
“The president? Really?”
“Yes.” The agent produced a silver badge and placed it in the boy’s hand.
“Sir if you don’t mind we have some tests to run.” The tone implied an order for the man to leave and so he did. 
The agent scanned the room and smiled as he saw the stacks of dinosaurs and spaceships. He saw an old story book and action figures of knights and Dragons. 
“Lancelot. Check for gas and mold please.” The first agent said over his shoulder.
“Lancelot? Like Arthur’s best knight?” The boy asked. 
“Exactly.” The agent looked around. Closet single door, no light switch. Bed, low down, dark. He ticked the two most common hiding spots. 
“Daddy says there aren’t any Knights.” The boy said. “He said we don’t need them.” The other agent laughed a little.
“Of course we need knights! Who else would slay the dragons?” He shook his head. “Bedivere. No gas no mold.” 
“Well then that means we have a beastie.” The agent winked at the child. “Now I need you to tell me. Where does the monster live?” 

I Should Be Over You

For Emily: I wish I knew poetry sooner

As this is a ballad I’d be glad if someone set this to music and sent it back to me.

How long is it since last we met?

 I should be over you

Since winter’s end you have been gone

 I thought it was love true.


Year’s first did turn to second month

 I should be over you

We both had met through our old friend

 I thought it was love true. 


We went out as the snow fell down

 I should be over you

We sledded down the hill that day.

 I thought it was love true.


I still remember that first kiss

 I should be over you

 I think right then I fell in love

 I thought it was love true.


Fast forward to Saint Valentine

I should be over you

My hair I had died green that day

 I thought it was love true.


We kissed sweet in my car that night

 I should be over you

And I said those lethal words

 I thought it was love true.


In darkness spoken “I love you”

I should be over you

Your only answer was a kiss

I thought it was love true. 


Then that last dance, our turnabout

 I should be over you

Your ask was with that clever card

 I really am that blue.


I spoke with folly in that dance

 I should be over you

 “Sick from your kiss than sick without”

 I should have spoke less true.


Then with my friends stayed up too late

 I should be over this

 I held you in my arms that night

my poison was your kiss.


Then wretched did that Friday come

 I should have seen the clue

That Friday it was the thirteenth.

I didn’t though that’s true.


And with your words you broke my heart

I should be over you

So stunned I left that wretched room

I thought it was love true.


So I’ve been in this state too long

I should be over you

My broken heart bleeds poems sad

I thought it was love true. 


Yet even though I’ve found someone

I’m still not over you

She only wants my heart to hold

 It still is bound by you.


Though everything we had is gone

I should be over you

One night it burned in fire bright

Yes even that card blue


Yet still our song does break my heart

I should be over you

And memories still cause me pain

I thought it was love true


I know we don’t the same way feel

I should be over you

You thought that we could still be friends

I thought it was love true


I doubt I often cross your mind

I should be over you

I must not have meant all that much 

Heard never: “I love you”.


So when was it that last we met?

I should be over you

A broken heart does not forget

I thought it was love true


By TKH Hamilton

Philemon: The Nature of Love

This is a sermon I gave at the student ministry of my high school. It may lose a little of the power if not read aloud. 

​            Imagine you’re walking around school, minding your own business when you see someone running down the hall. You look at them and you recognize them and your heart sinks. You hate that person. Maybe it’s the guy who beat you up as a kid. Maybe it’s the girl who slandered you. Maybe it’s the person who you trusted with all your heart and they abandoned you, you trusted them to have your back and they stepped away. Well whoever it is they are coming at you, and fast. You can’t help but stare at them and as you do they lock eyes with you. You look over your shoulder and the only thing behind you is the wall. They’re looking straight through the crowd and at you. They’re waving this piece of paper and shouting your name. They have the biggest smile on their face, and you know they have something terrible planned for you. You start coming up with what you’re going to do, hit them or insult them or something, and you know you are totally in your rights to do so. When they get to you, they just stick the piece of paper out and just say “Before you do anything, read this.” You look and it’s a letter. You open it up and it’s from your pastor, or some important father figure. The letter says that this person you hate has changed and accepted Christ. Your pastor or father figure tells you all this and then, here is the kicker, that you shouldn’t punish them for what they have done to you, at all. They want you to love and forgive that person.

If you have a bible open up to the book of Philemon. Little book in the New Testament. Philemon is a letter from Paul, to Philemon a church leader. Philemon had a slave, Onesimus. Onesimus and Philemon had some kind of falling out and  Onesimus Ran away.  While Onesimus was running he met Paul in prison and met Christ. Paul knows that Onesimus needs to be forgiven by Philemon so he sends him back with a letter. The letter tells Philemon to forgive his slave and accept him back as a brother in Christ. This book isn’t only a letter about forgiveness but truly it is a letter about love. It is about both our love for others and about the love of Christ for us. This book shows us three things about the very nature of Love. Love is never forceful, it gives up its rights, and it is willing to be hurt.

Love never forces anyone to do something. Love will convict. Love will persist. But love won’t force someone to do something. Paul shows this in verses 8 through 10. “Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul –an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus- that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains.” Paul is probably the person who shared the good news with Philemon in the first place, so he is asking the elder son to welcome his younger brother back in love. Much like the father in the story of the prodigal son. Look at Luke 15:31 and 32 “ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ” (Luke 15:31, 32 NIV). Now Paul also knows that this probably isn’t what Philemon wants to do. You see, under Roman law a slave was their master’s property and could be beaten or even killed for running away. Paul wants nothing more than for Onesimus to be well received, and yet he doesn’t simply tell Philemon to do so. Why? Because love is not forceful. Verse 14 “But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary.” Love ALWAYs has the choice between right and wrong, between love and hate.

The second insight into the nature of love is that love denies its rights. Remember Philemon owned Onesimus and it was entirely in his right to kill Onesimus for running away. Paul is asking Philemon to give up his rights! That’s not fair! Why should he give up his rights and forgive him unconditionally! What is Paul thinking? Who does that? Wait wait wait wait wait wait. Well the answer of course is: Jesus does. Paul is subtly reminding ALL of us that we are all Onesimus and God, like Philemon, has every right to spurn and reject us.  Yet in spite of that, here is where we see a love that gives up its rights for those it loves. Look at 1st Corinthians 13:5-7

“ 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Love doesn’t look out for itself first, it puts others first, and it gives up what it deserves, so that someone else doesn’t have to suffer. Paul loves Philemon and Onesimus enough that he is even willing to take Onesimus’s punishment. Verse 18 “If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.”  When we are told to love those who hurt us, to forgive those who wrong us, to take back those who betrayed us, we have two choices. Hold tight to our rights or let go of them. True love lets go of its rights.

Finally true love is willing to be hurt by and for those it loves. Paul tells Philemon in verse 12 “I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you.” Paul knows Philemon and Onesimus need to be reconciled, but he also knows the risk of it. Remember Philemon, under Roman law can kill Onesimus without any penalty. Paul knows this and he is opening up his heart to be absolutely broken because if Philemon rejects Onesimus, well that is going to wreck Paul. Paul knows this and tells Philemon “So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me” (Verse 17). Paul is putting the love and trust he has in Philemon on the line. The original Greek biblical manuscripts mention three kinds of love: Eros, romantic love, Philos brotherly love, and finally Agape, God’s love for people. Christ’s love for us, this Agape love, is the kind of love that not only was he willing to be hurt, but he was willing to die, for a world that hated him. Look at Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Christ wasn’t just willing to be hurt, he was willing to DIE! Why? Because that’s what Love does. True love is willing to be hurt.

The bible doesn’t tell us what happened between Onesimus and Philemon, because it isn’t as important. When we love we will face both reactions. We will be rejected and received, ignored and listened to. So the question is will you chose love? Will you chose a love which puts you at risk and which calls you to abandon your rights? Who do you have to be  Onesimus to? Who do you need to humble yourself to and ask for forgiveness from? What relationship in your life do you need to go and mend in love and humility? Now the next question may surprise some of you. I could ask “who do you love enough to be hurt for?” If I did that then I’d be cheating you. No the question I’m going to ask is “who DON’T you love enough to hurt for? Who DON’T you love enough to give up your rights for?” Who is Onesimus in your life?” Because those are the people in your life who you can’t show human love to. No those are the people who to love them it is going to require a love bigger than yourself. This is God’s love, Agape, a transcendent love which is willing to die for those it loves. That is the love we are called to show. I love you guys so I’m not going to force you to do anything, I’m simply going to ask you to show those people some love. Because even if your Philemon right now, we were all Onesimus once.
By TKH Hamilton

Good Men should Not From God’s Light Hide

Good men should not from God’s light hide.
Your God, made He the sun’s bright light.
The darkness is where Devils bide

Oh poet what keeps you inside?
You need air fresh lest die of blight
Good men should not from God’s light hide.

From cloister draw doors open wide
Turn from despair come back in sight
The darkness is where Devils bide.

Rise up like water at high tide!
Or fly up like a wind drawn kite!
Good men should not from God’s light hide!

Your fear I will not even chide
Take up your sword, draw armor tight
The darkness is where Devils hide

God’s love for you is bona fide
By blood made safe like snow washed white
Good men should not from God’s light hide.
The darkness is where Devils bide. 

By TKH Hamilton