Choose Life



For those who're comtemplating what they shouldn't, and given how precious they are.

Dear contemplator of suicide,
but should you feel unable to accept this invitation, may what's written below prove to be a help.

2.  Fallen Soldiers Of Depression

And one of them being:
Robin Williams, actor, comedian (1951-2014)

Hi Robin, I imagining you can hear me, and I just wanting to say
That I was saddened to hear that you’d taken your own life; such never the way.
I know you suffered from depression, and can understand your desperation,
Though alcohol and other drugs wouldn’t have helped your trying situation.

Nor acting, I must say, for such pretence is well known to mess with one’s head,
But that aside, you were indeed a funny person (good hearted too, it’s said),
And who knows what all that clowning was hiding (jesters often wounded inside),
It one way that many deal with inner issues, that scary incoming tide.

Oh yes, I know the black dog well, that deep, dark, cruel and lonely well of despair,
And how when having plummeted there seems no way up, one full of loss and fear.
However, life does have its ropes and ladders, and depression’s not always there,
And why like anything else in life, it’s something one learns to handle-cum-bear,

Well, as best one can, for such sorely tests a man.

I guess you thought death would cure the problem when only life can, actually,
For where there is life there’s hope and every reason — a coming cure, possibly.
Though one should mind medication as it’s often more harmful than helpful, and
Many folk better helped by an understanding, sound, patient and caring hand.

I guess you had it pretty bad, Robin, and that’s sad, very sad, I must say,
But how I wish you’d hung in there, life being too precious, at the end of the day.
And all of us unique, never to be duplicated, but there it goes,
And why all should keep an eye out lest another Robin go, too soon repose.

Three secrets of life are purpose (evolution giving us none, by the way),
A selfless passion for others, a moral code that has the first and last say;
And as an afterthought, busyness, each often holding depression at bay,
Or minimising its intrusion; and there are those who quietly kneel and pray.

But serious depression needs serious help, it such a merciless thing,
And nothing to do with negative thinking, which some think causes everything!
No, it medical or far more complex, and its root cause oft a mystery,
Our brain and body an engineering marvel — and we, quite fragile, really.

It seems that the artistic temperament is prone to depression, sadly;
And why, being another poem, article or story — not for simple men like me.
And needless to say, when such is coupled with a sad background, it oft a curse,
And why so many in that field are carried away too soon via a black hearse.

Yes, too soon, for where there’s life there's hope and every reason.

By Lance Landall

3.  Any Closer And I'll Jump!

The wind tugged at her dress threatening to pull her off the concrete ledge, and she resigned to such,
The only thing creating some hesitation being someone who her nearest arm sought to clutch.
“Keep back!” she shouted, “Any closer and I’ll jump!” and jump she would, life not worth living anymore,
Or so she felt, and poor Vaughn feeling desperate, he looking at what seemed like a closing door.

“Don’t waste your time trying to be a hero!” she shouted again, “Don’t care if I am crazy!”
“I certainly don’t think you're crazy,” Vaughn replied, the wind affecting his voice as equally.
“But as weird as it sounds, once you jump you won’t have that option again, and why I would hold off,”
And Vaughn expecting that at such seemingly absurd reasoning she would most likely scoff.

However, such seemed to catch her off guard, but she quickly recovered, scorn showing in her eyes,
“Why would I want that option again!?” she shouted, which her shaking head then sought to emphasize.
“Well, you’ve nothing to lose by holding off,” Vaughn shouted back, “And possibly everything to gain,
Which many in that same place as you have found; they once having sought the same solution to their pain.”

Vaughn recognised the hurt within her, though not knowing of the years of abuse she’d battled through,
But he having suffered in other ways, and once, the same seeming solution had desired too.
And how glad he was that such steps he’d not taken, his life now a very different story,
For though things can seem too hard to bear, and hope gone, a brighter day can dawn eventually.

“Oh, platitudes! Platitudes!” she mocked (almost as if she could read his mind), “And what would you know?
And isn’t that the way, easy to speak when all’s good for you. Well, no thank you and cheerio.”
And with that said, she then lurched, her decision becoming reality, and Vaughn gasping,
But her heavy dress catching, and Vaughn rushing to the edge wildly grabbing at anything.

The weight of her body seemed to laugh at his attempts, her screaming deafening, her hands flailing,
And her snagged descent now bringing a fear that was otherwise absent, she hardly abseiling.
Somehow (he didn’t know how) he managed to free her whilst pulling her back and over the ledge,
And once over, he didn’t let go of her until he’d pulled her even further from the edge.

She lay there too shaken to move, Vaughn’s breathing heavy, he still holding her arm protectively,
She not resisting, for though the energy of both was spent, she was seeing differently,
And that meaning: The view from her snagged position having had an affect, she reachable now —
Well, hopefully so, that is — though whether she was or not, Vaughn was about to try anyhow.

The warmth of the sun added to Vaughn’s sweatiness, a water tank lessening the wind somewhat,
The view from the building’s roof stunning, one able to see every home with its orange chimneypot.
Neither spoke for a short while, and then it was Vaughn, his grip removed, but he watchful and ready,
For having saved Jane from certain death, another suicide attempt he didn’t want to see.

“Well, you’re wrong regarding me,” he chided, Jane now rubbing bruises beneath her soiled and torn dress,
“For some time back, I was inches away from what you just sought to do, due to pain and distress.
Thus I’m no stranger to such, and nor do I think badly of you, but know it’s worth holding off,
'Cause the longer you stick around, the more there’s a chance that life will surprise, deliver from some trough.”

“And what if it doesn’t?” Jane questioned in return having found her voice again, “As can be so,”
She still speaking from her imprisoned past, those teary nights she spent curled up like an embryo.
“Well,” Vaughn replied, “Though that be true, not necessarily for you, or for anyone else too,
Hence why many have gone from rags to riches, obscurity to fame, pain to joy, peace they’re due.

And meantime,” Vaughn continued, “We find solace in those little things, a warm drink, a friendly smile,
Some kindness we’re shown, that fury creature on our lap, that hobby that’s absorbing and worthwhile.
And personally, the greatest healing coming when I lost myself in others — yes, their well-being,
I realising that such is where it’s at anyway, something that far too late, most are seeing.”

Thoughts were beginning to stir within Jane’s mind (a kindred spirit having sought to help her out),
Those thoughts seeds that the warmth and watering of Vaughn’s loving concern would eventually sprout.
And yes, that’s what it’s all about, keeping a loving watch on others, though more so wounded ones,
Who too oft take their life whilst selfishness, thoughtlessness or indifference indulges and suns.

Quietly they made their way down, they resting here and there, the ground a very welcome sight to Vaughn,
And where they sat chatting and sharing, the occasional bird picking at worms in the soft lawn.
“One’s life is too precious a gift to discard,” Vaughn related, “And this, despite how we may feel,
And why we shouldn’t let another’s cruelty, or some misfortune, any moment of it steal.

Sometimes it’s all about finding a shelter in the storm, and there, waiting it out, kind of thing,
Or we simply figuring out ways to cope, and why those who’re afflicted often brighter sing.
And the reason why is, because they’ve experienced the height, width and depth of life, its inner soul,
And thus they no shallow passer-by, but a goldmine of substance — yes, they more real, true and whole.”

Yes, better to hold off indefinitely

By Lance Landall

4.  The Bridge

Father and son stood staring into the stream as they leaned on the old wooden rail,
The son deep in thought, and sometimes fidgeting with the head of a protruding nail.
Many times both father and son had stood there together, watching the movements below,
Sometimes deep in conversation, sometimes silent, the time passing quickly or slow.

Geoff turned his head in the direction of his dad, his words questioning purposely.
“Why do some folk take their life, Dad?” And after pausing, “Seems like such a tragedy.”
“Well, son, that’s a very good question, but somewhat hard to answer, actually,
Given that sometimes there’s no apparent reason — that is, as far as one can see.”

The old wooden bridge creaked as he shifted his weight, his gaze now fixed upon his son,
The surrounding trees and foliage filtering out the rays of the noon day sun.
Ducks and ducklings paddled their way up stream, their beaks stabbing periodically,
And numerous birds and insects went about their daily routine just as busily.

“Have I ever told you about John Lock, son?”  “Not that I recall, Dad.”  “Oh, okay,
Well, John Lock had everything going for him, and everything seemed to go his way.
His wife was not only very beautiful, but she had a lovely personality,
And his children were lovely too — well behaved, talented, helping out willingly.

Yes, John appeared to be the luckiest man on earth, pretty much envied by all;
A stable of cars, a sound business, huge mansion, expensive paintings on each wall.
But to everyone’s amazement, or perhaps I should say shock, he took his own life,
Leaving behind what most of us can only dream of; plus his shattered kids and wife.”

“What do you make of folk like that, Dad? I mean, fancy taking your life so pointlessly.”
“Well, son, I guess it’s easy to think this or that, perhaps acting judgmentally,
But we really don’t know what’s going on in another’s mind, or what’s amiss, do we?
And who of us can say we’d never do such, for one’s life can change unexpectedly?

Now, I’m not condoning such, son, for suicide’s not something we should contemplate,
But how we feel today could change in time, should things in our life deteriorate.
I’m reminded of those who fall in love and say the proverbial, “We won’t part!”
Only to end up divorced a few years later, and even malice in their heart.

Yes, it’s a brave person who says I wont do this or that, for oft folk eat their words,
And when in love, or life’s going great, heads are oft in the clouds, folk away with the birds.
And you know, son, it’s all very well for some folk to condemn those who take their life,
But what about those who pointlessly risk their life, and when they’ve children and a wife?

Yes, how many risk their life attempting to break some record, or just for a thrill,
Effectively acting just as suicidal, given such pointless risks can kill.
In fact, one could say they’re worse, for they’re not suffering in some way, nor wanting to die,
And very irresponsibly are risking everything, which begs the question, “Why?

Surely if anyone’s worthy of condemnation, it’s such as these, in my view,
And yet, they’re oft applauded, lauded, are even given trophies for what they do.
Thus, as I see it, if anyone is selfish and thoughtless, it’s far more so these,
For the one who’s ill, confused, or distraught, neither clearly nor rationally sees.
What do you think, son?”  “Well, now that you mention such, Dad, I can’t help agreeing with you,
And I guess you’re glad I’m not one of those risk takers, nor suicide would pursue?”
“Indeed, son, even though you’ve had some rough years, reason to consider such,
But please know this, son: I would miss you terribly, for I love you so very much.”

“Thank you, Dad. I’ve always enjoyed our chats on the bridge, and it’s so peaceful down here.”
“Yes, me too, son. There’re times when we bottle things up, when such we really need to air.
Life has its rugged patches, but that’s all they are, son — that is, in the scheme of things,
For just as there’s sun after rain, there’s dawn after night, and that little bird that sings.

Well, son, I guess we’d better head back, ay?”  “I guess so, Dad, but first I’ll grab a stick.”
"Okay, son, I’ll saunter ahead, and if you’re as hungry as I am, you’d best be quick.
Knowing your sweet mother, son, she will probably have the table set already.”
“Sure, Dad, I won’t be long.” And so saying, he was lost in foliage immediately.

And there, he reached inside his jacket and withdrew a handgun, it loaded and deadly,
His pocket now free of the offending object, and his hands moving purposely.
The bullets removed, he flung all into the deeper water upstream, much more concealed,
Where there in the murky shadows, hopefully his secret would never be revealed.

By Lance Landall

Note: Names mentioned are fictitious.

5.  Twenty Six Floors Up

It was a lovely cloudless day, the clear blue sky stretching forever, the sun smiling warmly,
The matchbox traffic below building quickly, and I, twenty six floors up peering cautiously.
“She didn’t stand a chance. Not once she’d decided to jump. No turning back then,” the old man sighed,
“Can’t imagine what made her do it. She attractive and fairly young. Onlookers horrified.”

He shifted his weight. “Nothing anyone could do. She was up and over before folk could try,
And yesterday just like this, it full of promise, and yet, in a blink she gone — what a way to die!
She dropped like a stone, not a sound, except when she hit the ground, her life ending in a heartbeat,
And who knows what on Earth must have been going through her mind on the way down ’till she hit the street.”

Yes, it was certainly a long way down, an option that couldn’t fail in its tragic intent,
A set course that gained rushing momentum with every nanosecond of frightening descent.
Window after window flashing by, her fateful decision signed and sealed in looming concrete,
An end forever etched in the memories of those who coincidentally walked that street.

And she not the first, half a life or more still to go, her sad departure sharing her distress,
And highlighted on the front page of the morning rag amidst reports of financial progress.
Yes, I could see more skyscrapers near completion, and couldn’t help shake my head reflectively.
“Twenty six floors up, huh, and no one knows why?” I mused aloud, “Now there’s another tragedy.”

By Lance Landall

This poem relates to a sixties song called Ode To Billie Joe. Best you read the lyrics first which
I've placed under this poem.

6.  Billie Joe MacAllisters

Perhaps you’ve heard about Billie Joe MacAllister, who, on the third of June, up there on Choctaw Ridge
(And this according to the haunting lyrics of Bobbie Gentry's song), jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.
Well, there’s no question that in pretty much every country (and more so, in some), there’s a Choctaw ridge,
A mountain of heartache, depression and seeming hopelessness, and a too oft used Tallahatchie bridge.

And let’s not forget all those other people who're "pickin' flowers" up on those Choctaw ridges as well,
Because those who jump off those Tallahatchie bridges have loved ones
— and, by the way, oft don't say "Farewell."
Why they choose to act this way is oft anyone’s guess, but nevertheless, something sees them take that road,
And hence why we need to be attuned to others’ needs, and lovingly so, thereby helping ease their load.

Yes, there're too many Billie Joe MacAllisters, and those who're left to pick up the pieces of their life,
That is, after such a loss, be they friends or relations — yes, a brother or sister, husband or wife.
And adding to this is the stigma of suicide, that “never had a lick of sense” mentality,
Which can have more to do with ignorance and indifference, and which may aid some such fatality.

Yes, such tragic tales are too oft just casual meal-time fodder, told midst the passing of  “black-eyed peas,”
And those who take their life oft just the butt of those suicide jokes that are found amongst  much night-club sleaze.
All why suicides will continue, 'cause aside from those loads many bear, are many who don’t seem to care,
Or as good as such, given the lack of interest they show, and how some load they leave another to bear.

"Mama said it was a shame about Billie Joe, anyhow," and Mama was correct too when she said,
"Seems like nothin' ever comes to no good up on Choctaw Ridge," and that's true, not speaking ill of the dead.
'Cause the truth is, that suicides are such a waste of someone's life, and a very painful legacy,
And too oft happen when we're "choppin' cotton" or "balin' hay"
simply unconcerned, distracted, or busy.

By Lance Landall

This poem was upgraded 4 February 2020.

Bobbie Gentry's song "Ode To Billie Joe" was recorded in 1967.
(Bob Dylan's song "Clothesline Saga" is a parody of this song, apparently).

Here are the lyrics to Ode To Billie Joe:

It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
I was out choppin' cotton and my brother was balin' hay
And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat
And Mama hollered out the back door, "Y'all remember to wipe your feet"
And then she said, "I got some news this mornin' from Choctaw Ridge
Today Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge"

And Papa said to Mama as he passed around the blackeyed peas
"Well, Billy Joe never had a lick of sense, pass the biscuits, please
There's five more acres in the lower forty I've got to plow"
And Mama said it was shame about Billy Joe, anyhow
Seems like nothin' ever comes to no good up on Choctaw Ridge
And now Billy Joe MacAllister's jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge

And Brother said he recollected when he and Tom and Billie Joe
Put a frog down my back at the Carroll County picture show
And wasn't I talkin' to him after church last Sunday night?
"I'll have another piece of apple pie, you know it don't seem right
I saw him at the sawmill yesterday on Choctaw Ridge
"And now you tell me Billie Joe's jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge"

And Mama said to me, "Child, what's happened to your appetite?
I've been cookin' all morning and you haven't touched a single bite
That nice young preacher, Brother Taylor, dropped by today
Said he'd be pleased to have dinner on Sunday, oh, by the way
He said he saw a girl that looked a lot like you up on Choctaw Ridge
And she and Billy Joe was throwing somethin' off the Tallahatchie Bridge"

A year has come 'n' gone since we heard the news 'bout Billy Joe
And Brother married Becky Thompson, they bought a store in Tupelo
There was a virus going 'round, Papa caught it and he died last Spring
And now Mama doesn't seem to wanna do much of anything
And me, I spend a lot of time pickin' flowers up on Choctaw Ridge

And drop them into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge

Here's a link to the song:

7.  There's No Shame In Emotional Damage

There’s no shame in emotional damage, no shame in such suffering and pain,
And thus shame belonging to the violator alone, those who’re inhumane.
Yes, those who carelessly injure, those who damage others emotionally,
Thereby leaving them with issues, the hell of depression and anxiety.

Oh, that wrongful stigma that plagues such sufferers who suffer enough, dear me,
Their joy oft robbed by dark clouds and acid rain, chilling shade that taunts them cruelly.
Hence their inability to cope well, their ways that people don’t understand,
Their need to protect themselves from further injury, props or pills close at hand.

Oh, how often they’re misunderstood, and how many try to understand them?
Yes, many ignorantly pointing, they too quick to draw, too quick to condemn.
And this being why the emotionally damaged are sometimes seen to let fly,
People not crediting them with how much they do try, and certain things imply.

Yes, there are degrees of emotional damage, some poor souls wounded more so,
Some limping and others flat on their back, hence why they oft say, “Not now,” or, “No.”
And why some have difficulty keeping appointments, attending this or that,
And no wonder, though such not understood by those who’ve not worn same shoes or hat.

So mind the emotionally damaged, those who suffer emotionally,
Those whose behaviour might therefore seem strange, even thoughtless, unfortunately.
'Cause it’s better they do what helps them cope rather than crashing trying to please,
As they oft struggle with those simple everyday things that others find a breeze.

By Lance Landall

8.  Such Being How They Cope

Life can be difficult for us all, but far more so for those who struggle emotionally,
They doing whatever they can to cope, and even should such be looked upon negatively.
Hence that extra burden they bear, as if they’re not struggling enough, but such how it tends to go,
For others misjudge their odd ways of coping, and thus upon each sufferer more pain bestow.

Perhaps they didn’t attend someone’s funeral, even that of a family member, or,
Perhaps they didn’t attend some wedding, do this or that, go here or there like they did before.
Well, so be it, they avoiding what they feel they can't handle, such being better than some breakdown,
Or another dose of nerves and anxiety that they just can’t afford despite any frown.

And how many pointing the finger go out of their way to help such suffers cope? — dear me —
Hence why such sufferers oft turn to some odd ways of coping that are greeted derisively.
For they must do what gets them through, they not happy about such either, but feeling they’ve no choice,
And oh, how oft such poor souls long for a compassionate and understanding defending voice.

Yes, they not doing wrongful things, but acting in a way that others frown upon thoughtlessly,
Those folk oft ignorant of the whys and wherefores, or where they’re not, not acting differently.
And so it goes, they simply adding insult to injury, more concerned for their own feelings, or,
They too caught up on do's and don’ts, and thus no helpful avenue-cum-way around things explore.

By Lance Landall

9.  It's All About Survival

(so to speak)

There’s no shame in reaching out for help-cum-doing whatever will get you through,
Be it due to personal struggles or any ill that comes out of the blue.
Yes, it’s all about survival, not worrying about what others may think,
But rather, taking hold of whatever you can lest beneath life’s waves you sink.

Now, I’m not condoning doing anything wrong, but what is necessary,
Which may mean asking, swallowing your pride, admitting some inadequacy.
And too bad what some folk may think, better that than crashing, adding to your load,
Or letting things build up inside you until eventually they explode.

Why sink under a weight that could be eased? — and should someone respond grudgingly,
Still accept for your own sake, or for the sake of your loved one or family.
Yes, it’s best you get by, its best you get through, and even best you look silly,
Rather than holding back and pointlessly becoming another casualty.

The truth is life’s so fleeting, we here today and seemingly gone tomorrow,
Hence why we need to do whatever we can to ease any pain and sorrow.
Otherwise, some of those years we’re allotted may become filled with misery,
And all because we didn’t ask or seek, just wasted time on anxiety.

Yes, it’s all about survival, and such not selfish but a necessity,
For there’re times when we can’t go it alone, and surely enter humanity;
Oh, how some folk suffer, they left to struggle while others pass, and why I say:
Do whatever you can to get by, get through, and not let cruelty have its way.

And remember this: It’s not showing weakness when we ask for help from someone,
But rather, it’s showing a certain strength — bravery, when all is said and done —
And a mature facing up to reality which will always serve us well,
For there’s nothing less helpful than remaining on some destructive carousel.

So ask or accept help from wherever you can get it, as such makes good sense,
Be it willingly or grudgingly given, or you’ll decline at your expense.
For what you decline may have to come from somewhere else, and perhaps won't at all,
And why in order to manage, one sometimes just has to live with feeling small,

Though not so.

By Lance Landall

10.  Be Still, Dear Anxious Soul

Be still, dear anxious soul, face and don’t run, accept and don’t fight, and let time pass,
And then you’ll once again hear the warbler, notice the blue sky and pea green grass.
Yes, healing takes some time, and you’re so drained of emotion, unable to feel,
For pain and stress have sorely robbed you; we made of flesh and blood, not wood and steel.

Yes, be still, dear anxious soul, allowing any kindly breeze to caress you,
For such tender wisps of compassion help to gradually alter one’s view.
Oh, how those clouds of grey overwhelm, you so unable to see past the fog,
That distressing sludge of depression that channels of hope and joy seems to clog.

So yes, be still, dear anxious soul, for wellness and wholeness will return with rest,
And on the way, promises of good things will begin to stir within your breast.
And once again your sad heart will sing, and all the deeper for its suffering,
Which in turn tender wisps of compassion to another anxious soul will bring.

By Lance Landall

11.  No One's Problem Is Quite The Same

At the end of the day, no one’s problem is quite the same, even though in name,
Given varying forms and strengths, so experiences mightn’t be the same.
Yes, all apples may look like apples, even have the same botanical name,
But not taste the same, even differing in colour, and here there’s no shame,

But how it is with issues and aliments, and hence why we should tread carefully
Come those people we meet with the same condition, but where some things may vary,
’Cause what someone copes with, another doesn’t, or not so well, and that could be
’Cause of their health or their makeup, their physical or their mental chemistry.

Yes, who knows their background, all why we can’t always apply the same approach here,
Treating them as if they’re no different, when they may well need more thought and care.
Though our minds and bodies may seem the same, and in fact are, in a certain sense,
They’re also unique to each person, and therefore, this should act in their defence.

So let us mind how we go, ’cause how some issue or aliment affects someone,
May be different to how it affects someone else, hence that research that’s done,
We not just assuming things, but making sure that our response is tailor-made,
’Cause that “one size fits all” is primitive thinking, and why things are better weighed.

So please don’t make someone’s battle harder, ’cause wrong expectations add to pain,
And words where words shouldn’t be, thus an arm around their shoulder oft more than plain.
And all they’re wanting, maybe, and perhaps wiser where one doesn’t understand,
Lest they be angered, ’cause too many people come with cruel platitudes in hand.

And what’s short for some, may well be long for others, much deeper and darker, say,
They struggling to rise, while others spot a rainbow, sense a coming better day.
And so what works for some, doesn’t for others, and depression’s not the blues,
Complexities being the lot of many who their bedevilled state didn’t choose.

So mind those unfair judgments that shouldn’t be made, and that have no place here, and
That also shouldn’t reach other ears, ’cause that’s how even more injury’s fanned.
And yes, don’t be too quick with readymade answers, but put yourself in their shoes,
Remembering that even where self caused, suffering’s hardly what people choose.

By Lance Landall

This poem is based on an older poem of mine called Will You Please Think Again, which can be found on my
poem list page, secular section, and it being poem number 5 of the linked poems.
Further to:
Will You Please Think Again was a very early poem of mine (when I was just starting out), one that I posted on a hospital notice board hoping that it might prove a blessing. A number of years later I discovered that someone who had seen it had grabbed it off that notice board and taken it home, placing it on their fridge. It was so encouraging to learn that this very poem was what kept them going, despite it being a rather clumsy earlier attempt, and hence my upgrading of it, and this new one above as well (though shorter) penned June 2020.

12.  That Failure To Understand

As I’ve gone through life, observing this and experiencing that, the most problematic of things I’ve seen,
Is that failure to understand others, and that when it comes to relationships, so oft gets in-between.
The truth is, our understanding only goes as far as the effort we make, or should I say, want to make,
For how oft do any of us really go to any great lengths-cum-serious action for another’s sake?

And therein lies the problem, we not sufficiently interested, or just not interested at all,
And why we fail to understand, or only partially grasp things, such oft leading to some bad judgment call.
And then there’s our personal bias, for how can we truly see when our thinking’s coloured by this or that?
Such possibly glaringly obvious come some confrontational encounter; even general chat.

To be fair, there are some things that we may never fully understand, or grasp at all — sometimes sadly so —
But what a shame should such be due to a lack of effort, or that callous, “I really just don’t want to know.”
It’s bad enough that lack of experience or personal growth can get in the way, without apathy,
Or we simply too caught up in our own little world, too content, too busy, or too distracted to see.

And as a consequence, many having to live with being viewed in some unfortunate way that isn’t so,
Or they not getting the support and attention they need, from which sad things can flow, or destructively grow.
And we then pointing the finger and condemning, thanks to failing to understand, or not wanting to see,
All of which often has its roots in selfishness, or that only prepared to go so far mentality.

Yes, what we fail to understand can work against us, let alone its impact on others, and hence why we,
Should not only try to understand (proof that we do care), but to the fullest of our capability.
And you know, it’s oft via our understanding of others that we grow, we thus seeing things differently,
As our own little world is simply just that, and why it needs enlarging at every opportunity.

By Lance Landall

13.  Fingers That Shouldn't Point

You err because you’re human, you wound because you’ve been wounded (such sad to say),
And you say what you say, do what you do, ’cause you can’t be anyone but you.
You also disappoint ’cause of unfair and unrealistic expectations,
And due to appearances, may will suffer from certain insinuations.

You haven’t got there yet, ’cause you’re still on your journey, thus learning as you go,
But your lack of maturity’s still condemned, ’cause better, they think you should know.
Yes, you oft don’t measure up to someone’s rule, and your weaknesses may cause mirth,
Your lot it seems, or mine, and thus how one can feel up against it right from birth.

There’s much about us that falls short, but who’s the saint or god among us? Not me,
Nor you, cause we’re all cracked or broken vessels, a sad product of the earthly.
Yet others gauging us by the heavenly, love and friendship conditional,
Acceptance and affirmation withheld, people unfairly waiting until.

And when they shouldn’t wait until, 'cause holding back oft sees that day not come at all,
’Cause it’s all back to front, and hence how some struggler’s efforts are seen to stall,
It might be you, it might be me, despite our sincere attempts, successes too,
’Cause there’s always something and someone, fingers that shouldn’t point at me or you.

By Lance Landall

14.  Is Your Past Plaguing You?

So many indulge in pointless mental flagellations over ill they’ve done,
Very regretful, seeing anew — and why now, such ills they condemn and shun.
Their lives having changed, they hardly the same person, but those ills still plaguing them,
And from which a considerable loss of joy, and even depression, can stem.

And perhaps one’s you, dear friend, and you unable to comprehend your folly,
Even cruelty
it as if you were someone else, and you were, actually.
And that’s the thing, ’cause you’re not that person anymore, though still looking the same,
But a difference showing in the eyes, a heart no longer wanting to maim.

Oh, how I applaud that change, it deserving of the biggest pat on the back,
Your new direction being a great and beautiful thing — so ignore the flack.
Yes, there’ll always be those with out-of-date memories, those who won’t forget,
But they having work to do, ’cause nursed things are how more ill we aid and abet.

Yes, life’s too short to brood over things, and pointing doesn’t help anybody,
We all needing to move on from things, and whereby we may see differently,
’Cause who knows exactly what’s behind some of those unfortunate acts, sadly,
And forgiveness and redemption far more advantageous to humanity.

So take heart, dear plagued one, ’cause you should be seen for the new person that you are,
And perfection hardly to be expected, ’cause we all fall short of the bar.
The main thing being that you’ve changed, the past all to do with that person you were,
That someone else who simply had the same face, and to whom no one should refer.

Things not mattering anymore if we’ve seen the light, sincerely changed our ways,
And instead of darkening clouds, our thoughts, words and actions now like Summer rays.
Yes, righting wrongs where we can, even doing the time, but each day a new one,
And you, dear friend, a blessing now, even hero — all why I shout, “Well done!”

With the door shut on those plaguing thoughts, and the past left behind where it should be,
You can spend the rest of your life seeking and doing good — repairing, maybe.
And such will highlight your sorrowfulness and change, and plant new seeds that’ll bless,
And where once there was a disappointing “No,” there’ll possibly be a “Yes.”

By Lance Landall

15. Catch On?

Even when life has dealt us blows, left us with hurt and pain, it’s better to remain loving,
And midst the fog of broken dreams, heartache and loss, to seek out others with whom we can sing.
By that I mean, to lose ourselves in selfless acts and gentle ways, and words that warm and heal,
For responding any differently, even more joy, peace, hope and happiness will steal.

Yes, such is how we make our heart smile again, how we still move forward, and find our way through,
Searching for any little thing that will brighten, found in those things that for others we do.
For as we lift another’s spirit, ease their lot, and via those loving acts of kindness share,
Our own load is lightened, our season soothed, and possibilities are oft seen to appear.

We shouldn’t dwell on what we’re missing, on what might’ve been, or even on what should’ve been,
But rather, make the most of the present and what we have, for things will always intervene.
Hence why life’s really in the living, the being, our sight, our hearing, even our sense of smell,
And not so much in grandiose plans, nor romantic dreams, for many betray, kiss and tell.

Better to thrive on little, for little disappoints less, given expectations are low,
And given that acceptance and contentment are the two greatest friends that any can know.
For we all arrived with nothing, and will leave with nothing, given living is in the being,
And why we’ll never experience true peace until this little gem of truth we’re seeing.

By Lance Landall

Christian content or degree.

16.  If You Want My Honest Opinion

If you want my honest opinion, purpose, point, hope, reason to hang in there,
There’s nothing like what God has conveyed and promised, if faith and trust you show here.
You’ve nothing to lose, friend, all why I’d seize the moment and opportunity,
Lest you lose on all counts, and thus better to be safe than possibly sorry.

If this is just a planet that’s gone wrong, as the Bible says, all thanks to man,
And there’s a rescue coming, a new life and Paradise, I’d embrace the plan.
I seeing nothing wrong with getting in behind a God of love (and truth too),
But gut-wrenching regret if He is real (and His promises), and we’ve said, “Shoo!”

Thus one hanging in there, and doing the best to cope, though strength is yours and mine,
If choosing God, that is, ’cause such He’s promised, though not for straddlers of the line.
One either for Him or against Him, with Him or not with Him — yes, in or out,
There no other way, our response and that coming rescue what it’s all about.

And Christ understanding us like no other, He having suffered badly too,
Hence that cry, “My God, why have you forsaken Me!?”, He feeling way beyond blue.
Oh yes, He knows what darkness is like, friend, but even so, He still hung in there,
And right to the end, just like you should, friend, the prize greater than what you’ll bear.

And Noah knew this, he warning for one hundred and twenty years (what was true),
The God of love wanting all to seize the moment and opportunity too.
Yes, it happened before and it will happen again, His grace another ark,
It covering the repentant and faithful, providing light amidst the dark.

And it’s light you need, friend, all you can get, and God providing it most, you see,
A torch, if you will, via which both now and later you’ll see the heavenly.
Yes, a world beyond this depressing fallen one, where the real answers lie
(Not just patches), and where there’ll never be any reason to complain or cry.

Things only make sense when we know the “Why” of it all, just what it’s all about,
And the Bible telling us, thus we not in the dark, so long as we don’t doubt.
There’s no alternative, friend, so don’t be fooled by gobbledegook, pie in the sky
’Cause only God’s given realistic, sensible reasons for this or that “Why.”

However, some things we won’t fully understand until His coming return,
Where the full and complete reason for everything that’s gone on we’ll learn.
Meantime, God having to wait until Satan’s ultimate plans reach their climax,
Which will vindicate God once and for all, show the error in Satan’s attacks.

And with us, until the battle’s over, is God, His love and angels He’s sent,
And thus we not alone in our suffering — we too, going where Jesus went,
That same cross-bearing journey, but one with an eternal reward at the end,
That only the saved receive for their trouble, and may one of them be you, friend.

Yes, because the rebellious won’t get anything for their tribulations, so
Going with God pays, and if He wasn’t real, what’s lost anyway, you know.
’Cause living a noble life’s hardly injurious, and one sleeping at night,
No guilty conscience keeping one awake — yes, peace coming with doing what’s right.

To get to the end of our trouble filled life with nothing promising in sight
Doesn’t seem like a very good deal to me, having chosen darkness, not light.
The Bible’s accuracy and pedigree proven, and so much shouting too
That Earth and humanity were created, but that call, friend, is up to you.

Evolution but a lie, a hoax, we not having evolved from a monkey,
But rather, were created in the image of our Maker, who’s shown mercy.
Humanity having rebelled, hence all the ills that plague our planet today,
Both us and our planet hardly progressing, but in a sad state of decay.

And so, we unable to save ourselves, and evolution devoid of hope,
Hence why we’re in need of a Saviour, that God who understands and helps us cope.
He for real alright, the one who created Earth, a planet that He’ll renew,
And in the middle of another Garden of Eden He hopes to place you.

Over three score years and ten has left me without a doubt that God exists, and
That His Word can be relied upon, and which I’ve experienced first hand.
Yes, answered prayers, startling evidence, and verifying testimonies,
All of which fill me with hope and confidence, and why I, this moment seize.

Perhaps you’ve looked at Christians, not the wisest thing to do, and why you might scoff,
But bear in mind that when it comes to hypocrisy, some won’t be getting off.
God no more impressed than you — and let me add here, such not Christianity,
But Christendom, and this why we’re also told that eternity such won’t see.

No, God’s not into favourites, His love for you just as great as His for them,
But He’s no fool, and wrongdoing wherever it may be coming from, He’ll condemn.
And pity the sufferer He does, whether they’re a Christian or not, and why
I’d recommend you call on Him, friend, and not those badly holed arguments buy.

I could say more, how He died on our behalf and rose again, how He forgives,
And how it’s only because of Him that this planet spins and anyone lives,
How He cares so much, how having to wait pains Him so, and how it’s not His fault,
But it all comes down to you and I, whether that door to our heart we’ll unbolt.

By Lance Landall

Christian content or degree.

17.  Those Dos And Don'ts

Too many are hit with those dos and don’ts before they’re even able to rise,
Having difficulty freeing themselves from the suction of mire (though one tries).
But many having been too deep and long in that bog, and thus are not helped by
Dos and don’ts that come too thick and fast, hence why some soon sink and, “It’s no use,” cry.

Yes, too often Christians reduce things to dos and don’ts, which though having their place,
Are more the outcome of a relationship with God, that daily face to face.
And thereby, we wanting to please God, not trying to earn our way to Heaven,
’Cause earn our way we can’t, but are just showing we’re no longer in rebellion.

However, it’s not about pulling ourselves up, but all about reaching out,
God’s hand at the ready, and His sleeves rolled up before we’ve even thought to shout.
Only He able and strong enough to wrench us from that mire, leaving our shoes,
Which are replaced by Holy sandals that come with that white robe we get to choose.

Yes, and having been washed in baptism, that muck of Satan’s left well behind,
Compliance with rightful dos and don’ts but the fruit of the Spirit, sealed and signed.
Yes, grace covering, Christ’s name written all over us, we up and on our way,
And never thinking to void grace by turning back, Christ now having all the say.

But of course we’ll struggle, get battle weary, given what Satan throws at us,
We feeling the full weight of that cross that the Christian carries, as did Jesus.
Ridicule, attacks and persecution having always been the devil’s mode,
But once again, heavenly muscles reaching out, helping us carry that load.

Yes, tears there’ll be, and things that might make us wonder why, but that’s life, you know,
Even non-believers beset by things, Satan being everyone’s foe.
And after all, we’re all in the middle of a battle ground where bullets fly,
Many random, and some caused by friendly fire, all why many suffer or die.

But praise be! ’Cause there’s a resurrection coming, day of healing, soon return,
Our Saviour once again at the ready, and in His heart, passion’s seen to burn.
He longing for us, aching as much as we, scars on His beautiful hands, so
Hold fast, dear flagging one, ’cause what a terrible loss there’d be should one let go.

I know how hard it can be, some wanting to end their life, and, “Help them, Lord!”, I pray,
Earthly help oft not there like it should be, all why many falter on their way.
God used to sounds of angry desperation, but midst it all, please don’t let go,
There being heaps of us like you, and midst such pain, dos and don’ts don’t want to know.

But rather, that arm around the shoulder, those dos and don’ts having no place here
(Even talk, sometimes), but rather, just that being there that shows much thought and care.
And that reveals that (no pressure) love of Jesus, who waits until we’re ready,
And why midst it all, we shouldn’t let go of that hand that is oh so steady.

There’s no other way, yet a Paradise at the end, thus we gaining something,
Unlike those who don’t believe, those who turn their back on Christ, and get nothing.
Our suffering temporary, and very short compared with eternity,
And therefore it all worth it in the end, and HOPE easing whatever might be.

As said before, dos and don’ts have their place, but all must walk before they can run,
And some of us are crippled, seriously disadvantaged before we’ve begun.
Hence God’s grace, and why all should mind those dos and don’ts, ’cause pushing hard and quickly
Discourages and turns off, thus it but Christendom, not Christianity.

Yes, all in good time, God honoured by obedience, but first comes love and care,
Not that after one is freed from Satan’s bog that love and care should disappear.
But simply that helping comes before preaching, healing before workouts, and why
Those dos and don’ts need minding, remembering it’s the Spirit's job to sanctify.

By Lance Landall

Christian content or degree.

18.  Faith's Independent Of Understanding

In this world in which we live, bad and unfair things will no doubt happen to us,
But given faith’s independent of understanding, we still cling to Jesus.
Yes, the “Why?” of many sad things never to be known this side of Heaven,
Though the underlying reason being the fall of man which brought about sin.

And so, when ill strikes, and despite our pain, we still believing God’s in control,
Thus not seeking some explanation, but with those cruel punches, learning to roll.
We having no choice, frankly, Earth a battleground, all why Christ has suffered too,
And we the cause, yet oft demanding answers, but answer God doesn’t have to.

No, God owes us nothing, though all will be revealed to us eventually,
But that having everything to do with His love, compassion and mercy.
Meantime, much not making sense, except that God is real, true and faithful; and we
Having to meet the test of our belief and trust in him, which He needs to see.

Oh, how we praise Him when things are good, yet complain and question when things go bad,
Which given all that He has done for us, must surely make Him feel very sad.
It all a nightmare for Him as much as us, yet deliverance at the end,
And all why to that wonderful hope and those precious promises we cling, friend.

And this being why we praise God midst the bad too, ’cause die He didn’t have to,
But die He did, and rose again, though once wondering where His Father was too.
Yet the Father always there, Christ having to meet a test too, and all for you,
And I, and yet that “Why?”, which is kind of out of place when one thinks it all through.

When things go wrong, it simply means that things are running about normal down here,
Sin having fouled everything up, and thus some expectations hardly fair.
Unspoilt joy and happiness something that’ll only come with Christ’s return,
That glorious resurrection where the reason for this or that we will learn.

Meantime, hard it is, hence that cross we carry, though Christians don’t suffer alone,
All being the devil’s target, though our own wrongs and foolishness we must own.
Tomorrow’s joy being today’s preparation, but err we do, and thus pay,
Though God’s grace abounding, and He thus like a shepherd who’s looking for any stray.

This world isn’t a clock that God wound up and then left ticking while He went off,
But rather, He’s very involved in things, your life and mine, though others might scoff.
They never having known Him, or not nearly enough, and hence why is seen
Many going to hopeless graves, or struggling harder come some upsetting scene.

Hence that need of faith (which is independent of understanding), and why we
Should be like Job (who wondered what had stuck him, the devil acting viciously).
Oh, that “What must you have done wrong?” nonsense, the righteous having oft suffered so,
The devil not so interested in those who their God don’t or hardly know.

By Lance Landall

You may also wish to read my poem Hell? No which can be seen in the orange
box titled Poetry With A Mission, Home page.