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Reckoning Days
Reckoning Days

Reckoning Days

FatherSmithFather Lawrence C. Smith


“…the secret of the times and seasons is in the wisdom of God…” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky in "The Brothers Karamazov"

Vernal Mercies

La Primavera!
Le Printemps!
It’s Spring!!
The time of year when burly farmers
learn the joy of morning sickness
during April, sing ‘bout motherhood
in May, and moan, Oh, boy…
while wond’ring what to make of June.
If kites have taken to the skies,
competing for their airspace
‘gainst a robin’s fancy flights
past young men soaring
on their dreams d’amour,
then neither R.’s B.I. nor wedding rice
are out of season either
(Please don’t shoot the bride or batter).
Equinox means ice
at picnics, Lenten prayer,
and Proms in boots, so God decided
Spring should give earth bliss by bringing
death to give itself a kiss.


My sister April
is my twin, a doll
bedecked pathetic’ly
in palish pinks she borrowed
from the maple trees last Fall.
Not quite the best that Spring can be,
she thinks, regardless of the facts,
that if she preens sufficiently
she might some day become
like May, our Mother. Silly girl.
Her greens inspire more sighs than hope
and make a thumb look sickly.
Farmers would prefer to pass
her by, to miss her fickle frosts,
and skip the wonder of her weather.
Any lass with mud for slippers,
fogs for hair, and lips
whose only words are howling
winds should soon admit she’ll ne’er
wear wedding white in June.

‘tho’tis in Spring alone that May
doth deign to grace us
with her blossoms full, ‘tis she
in whom each birth is born.
There’s naught her reign has miss’d,
for when God made the earth and sea,
His calendar had just had April
torn away. Thus aught that is
must name her Queen and Mother both.
The Beauty of her morn
adorns all beauties that have ever
been beheld in hand, as thought,
or on sweet lips. No Winter storm
nor Summer blight nor mist
that falls in Fall will she not ease
with sips from breasts which ev’ry child
of Love hath kist. She is
the only month that lives all year
because from her grows what
each day calls dear.


My twin, my brother, has the name
of June. What kind of name
for any boy is that?!
He wants to live in Summer
so he moons about
in bathing suit and baseball hat
until he wrecks the Equinox
with his absurd behavior.
That he’s mostly Spring
he won’t admit. He’s just like me –
that is…
…Well, maybe not.
Sweet May just couldn’t bring
herself to let him be
as cute as me. He has no fire,
his own persona, nor a sense
of shame for setting children free
from school. Kids need to learn
a whole lot more but can’t immersed
in frigid swimming pools –
except that June is Mother’s biggest fool.

Solstice Sins

Forbidden fruit is fatt’ning
on the vine, displayed
in artists’ living rooms
in frames, and served at lunch
with California wine.
Temptations live so close
that no one blames the office serf
who runs an errand to
his fishing hole, her fav’rite
movie star’s new flick;
who couldn’t leave at
or pars St. Andrew’s whole back nine
while slicing up the local links.
These dreams are real and not
for cowards too afraid
to drain the cup of Life while blood
and Summer still run hot,
‘tho’ cheerless folk think joys
are mortal sins where labor’s end
means hell on earth begins.


Chicago is a summer city.
Wide along the streets the season
struts from curb to curb, persuading
citizens who hide in glassy
office tow’rs or classy ‘burbs
to come to town to taste the toddle.
That she Sox and rocks
and has the Cubbie Blues
is common knowledge. Where
she’s really at, the locals know,
is in the murky brews
she burps with Polish dogs and pizza.
Stuffed on sweaty El’s and crowded
on the Ike, her people swagger
as their pride gets puffed because –
Chicago! There ain’t nothin’ like
just hangin’ in the Windy City
by the Lake, where livin’s
easy in July!


It’s brisk and nicely hot
and kind to kids who dread
September’s coming school day chains.
There’s something ‘bout the month
that bids all ids to exercise
their wanton, wild disdains
for thought of aught but wants
and wont. There are no fora
for decora nor attention
paid to what good manners won’t
or can’t or shouldn’t do.
You’ll find no door that’s locked,
no fruit forbidden, nor a beach
with buns or bosoms hidden.
Anything but nothing!
is the license given each,
which all have taken;
playing is the thing.
We find when dog-day
time is out of breath the only fun
we’ve left undone is death.


A pale Chablis is tumbling
from the sky upon rich fields
whose thirst for light is quenched
as morn spills dew. Intoxicants
flow by, transparent in the ethers
which have drenched this dawn in silv’ry gold.
The eyes make haste to sip
the wine in ev’ry cup that day
bestows from ‘rise to noon for man
to taste by seeing. After Nones
a Chardonnay inebriates the land,
Champagne then greets the Lauds
in answer to the Vespers’ prayers.
‘til Matins sings the Truth
again and meets His vine,
a starry Blush will wash the airs.
September’s sun has made
my sight a drunk and moved
my stony heart to be a monk.

Autumnal Eden

An invitation
from the meerschaum pipe
atop my desk informs me
of the gold within his bowl,
on hillsides that have ripe
delicious apples still unplucked,
and told by tales whom bonfires
beg to hear, which feed on dreaming.
From my comfy chair I get
requests for afghan hugs
and honey-mead brewed at this time
three years ago. Not yet, I tell
them all. A greater summons
hails Tomorrow, when, I’m sure,
whate’er you ask will be
improved upon. It never fails
that if anticipation
is the cask containing treasure,
treasured more will be than what
we have are sights
we’ve yet to see.

October blends the seasons,
blushing green
as terra d’ombra learns to fly
by way of golden auras
bathing rains in sheen
reflected off the moonlit wings
of fays. It’s Springtime
in the morning, Winter chills
the night, and Fall and Summer
gently vie o’er how the noon
will be best dress’d. Low hills,
deep rills, and throaty birdsong
trills all sigh content to one another.
Autumn owns
whatever lasting joys
that man on earth can hope
to borrow, moving even stones
to tell him of the wonder
of his birth. There are some things
October isn’t, but it’s far
beyond my ken to think of what.

November is late Autumn’s March,
‘tho’ in reverse. The snows won’t come
and go then leave for good
when Fall falls down. Instead, chagrin
in ‘guise of rain and balmy sleet
deceive our hearts by saying,
I’m just passing through.
Not so: November
settles in to freeze
warm’d over cockles, toes,
and ears, and, too, it prompts
the knees to knock, the nose to sneeze,
and lasts not thirty days
but fifty-three looooong
year-long weeks. It’s not forever, ‘tho’
it seems that way, depressing
you and me, the sun, and makers
of machines that mow.
Each Winter Solstice is
the length of all of Spring,
yet only Life surpasses Fall.


A year, a day – it all is one
when One is God. Just one
event December boasts
from his first hour ‘til New Year’s Eve:
God’s Son gets feted for His Birth.
But heav’nly hosts hosannas sing
from Christmas night right through
Epiphany, beyond
the moment of the Jordan stream,
and past the time when grew
a boy presented to the Lord.
No love is greater than the Life
which He began at Bethlehem
so small. Sweet Jesus chose
to be like me, yet not,
to show that man can be like Him:
A Mother’s child who rose
to Father’s Glory
on the endless Day, whose dawn
was wintry dark,
whose Queen is May.

Winter’s Fall

Does anyone know
where the sunshine keeps
its warmth the Winter long?
Cruel Solstice pours a bath
of frigid light on earth
and steeps both stars and eyes
‘neath rabid North Wind roars
whose bite devours their twinkling.
Will the fire enkindled on the boughs
of maple trees through Autumn’s
indjun-summertime expire
along December’s trail of tears?
Dis-ease, not pox ‘tho’ just as deadly,
blankets hearts with cold despair,
believing earth has died
for good and disbelieving
healing arts exist at all
since Hope can not abide.
The Incarnation happened
at the worst of times ‘cause
drink is most desir’d in thirst.


If father Time grows ancient
at the end December brings,
then January serves
as cradle to the year.
Within him blend a youth
and guileless wisdom, which preserves
but little of the worst and all
the best of ages past.
The pity is that few
are able to recall how
God has blest the days gone by
beyond a month or two
once Auld Lang Syne has been
forgotten out of tune. The trouble
with our kids these days is our
not knowing that that song’s about
a babe auld farran
in whom manhood plays.
Be mindful of the meaning
in the gnome, Don’t let your crib
become a nursing home.


That less is more
when building office blocks
has been confirmed in glass-and-steel.
But less is much too much
when looking at the clocks which say,
You’re bless’d (?) with February’s mess
for under seven-hundred hours!
A line of silver ‘round this cloudy
month of gloom does not exist.
That it has twenty-nine foul days
some years just means the hours that loom
behind seem all the more a waste
of time. It takes too long
to suffer through, and when it’s done
there’s only ice to show for it,
which makes one wonder
what it’s like to taste
a gun. If killing time
were in my pow’r, then I would choose
this month to be the first
to die.


One Sunday past the full moon
falling on or after March
the twenty-first is when
Man’s Lenten lion meets
God’s Easter Son. His Lamb ascends,
our roar dies down, and then
we’re given Love to live
in Peace anew. An awful Splendor
shattered ages with the Word
once-whispered to the Lady Jew
nine months before December's twenty-fifth.
What time is now? There is no time
when God sees fit to wade through
aeons or to stride across a barren
desert or to trod on sin
and offer Life where death abides.
No matter
what our calendars might say, we’ve reached
the glory of the Endless Day!

Christus Rex Gloriae

Author Notes: These sixteen poems are in disguise. They are not haikus, limericks, or epics. Extra credit if you can name their actual genre!

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About The Author
Father Lawrence C. Smith
About This Story
21 Apr, 2018
Read Time
8 mins
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