Up From the Dust (Poems by Dwight)

2020 is proving to be a difficult year for many. Is this year a tragedy or some cosmic joke? What is clearly evident in this year of “2020 vision” is that this world, and we who live in it, are broken. The fruits of Genesis 3—injustice, violence, disease, death—are on display even in lands of prosperity as rarely before in my lifetime.

Such times call for both honesty and hope. One night this week, as I lay awake pondering the brokenness of our world, a line came to me: “This world will grind me down into the dust.” And then another line comforted me as I returned to sleep: “But on the third day I will rise again” (cf. Luke 18:33, etc.).

The next morning I wrote the first of these two poems. After I wrote it, I realized the final line really called for a second poem—a revisitation of the dark themes of the first poem through the lens of its final line. So, a few days later, I wrote the second.

I wrote both with a handful of Bible passages open before me, but I’ll leave you to find those connections. I really should credit John Donne for the “Death, be not proud” line, however, and Phil Keaggy should know that I almost included his phrase “joy comes crashing in” from his amazing song “A Little Bit of Light.”

I wrote these quickly, with only minor edits afterward. They may not be perfect as art, but hopefully they rise fresh from my heart to meet yours and remind us both of the hope we have in Christ.


UP FROM THE DUST

This world will grind me down into the dust

With daily heavy drum of sin and death;

What I’ve restored will surely turn to rust

Until I, beaten, draw my final breath.

The nations rage; in wrath my tale is told

As famine, pestilence, rebellion fill

My feed and suffocate me in their fold.

For many shall offend and some will kill,

Their love run cold, or end with their own selves;

Unthankful, proud, blasphemers, false—until

The final enemy will strike us all;

Of all I love, not one escape unharmed.

We slowly fade and then we quickly fall.

These things must come, and yet, be not alarmed;

This world will daily grind me down, and then

Up from the dust at last I’ll rise again.

—Dwight Gingrich, July 7, 2020

 

UP FROM THE DUST AGAIN

Up from the dust at last I’ll rise again!

Death, be not proud; my pawn you’ll take, it’s true,

But even now my King begins to reign,

And reigning, takes the sting away from you.

My fun’ral march He ornaments with praise

And laughter interrupts my darkest night;

A cloud of witnesses observes my race,

So I despise the shame and brave the fight.

All works for good; in suff’ring we rejoice.

We do not grieve as those who have no hope,

But in this broken world we raise our voice

Proclaiming “Christ is Lord!” For all the scope

Of things created, fallen though they be,

Are reconciled in Him who works for me.

My labor’s not in vain! Though beaten down,

Up from the dust I rise to grasp my crown.

—Dwight Gingrich, July 10, 2020


If you enjoyed these poems, feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!


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12 thoughts on “Up From the Dust (Poems by Dwight)”

  1. Blessed by reading your poetry. I especially like the turning to proclamation of “Christ is Lord” in the second one. He is ours, and our world’s, only Hope. Let us not be ashamed to proclaim him to our families, neighbors, and nations.
    This poetry blends with the message of “The Insanity of God” that I have been reading. That book will rearrange the soul of anyone who hasn’t yet sold theirs to the idols of the me Gospel. Highly recommended.

    1. Thank you, Arlyn. Yes, our risen Lord is our only hope! And yes, “The Insanity of God” certainly stares unflinchingly at the worse of this world while holding onto the gospel. I listened to it on audio a year or so ago. Thanks for mentioning it here.

  2. I like these poems. The message is far more hopeful than the message of “Invictus,” although both begin with a description of hard realities. Only yours though goes beyond a resolve for greater self-effort as a response.

    1. Yes, what a contrast in where to find one’s hope! I did not recognized the title “Invictus,” but the last stanza certainly is familiar.

      Thanks for letting me know you read and enjoyed these poems. Peace to you.

  3. Hi Dwight,
    As I read the poem for some reason, tears began to form. Such a vivid word picture of our journey. I’m so glad you penned the second one, its a lovely picture of reality in the spirit world.
    Could I have permission to share it Sunday morning with the congregation and maybe print in our bulletin Sunday Morning?

  4. Dwight, I enjoyed both your poems, very much. You are skilled in poetic form. Good images. I had seen the first one but did not comment, because I felt it was a half-truth. God leads us triumphantly through this dark, sin-filled, wicked world because Christ won the victory for us, on the Cross, and by faith, we are no longer enslaved to this world. Now you have supplied the other half I was looking for. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Thank you for these poems. It is often in writing that we figure out what our inner man is thinking/feeling. Many conflicting thoughts may cross our minds during these days. I know they do mine.

    I can imagine you were thinking of Genesis 3:19B when you wrote these poems–at least when you penned the first one.

    for you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return

    Dust to dust is part of the curse and we see it all around us. But as early as Job–Job 19:25-27A–we see hope expressed poetically just as you have expressed it.

    For I know that my Redeemer lives,
    and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
    And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I shall see God,
    whom I shall see for myself,
    and my eyes shall behold, and not another.

    1. Thanks, Dave. Interestingly, Genesis 3:19 was not one of the verses I was consciously thinking of when I wrote those poems. Clearly, though, I was thinking thoughts that have their first roots in that passage.

      You are so right about how the process of writing is a process of self-awareness. Thanks for making that explicit in your comment.

      Peace to you and yours in these days.

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