Eastern OrthodoxPoetry

Making a Proverb of Myself

I think I’d like to be a stylite sitting high above the town
All the people looking up at me while I refuse to look down
Yes I think that’s how I’d like to win my ascetic crown
To be put on a pedestal high up above them all
And shout down to the scoffers “Pride cometh before a fall!”

I think I’d like to be a hermit alone in the wilderness
In a cave – maybe with bear – far from the worldly mess
Where crowds come to hear my advice and hope I will bless
And from my privacy I will give them all instruction
Such as “A haughty spirit comes before destruction!”

I think I’d like to be a mendicant and leave everything behind
I would be an opportunity for the rich to practice being kind
They would give me a lot of money and I would try not to mind
And while they were almsing me I would preach good and loud:
“Better be humble with the poor than with the wealthy and proud!”

I think I’d like to be a simple monk living in a simple cell
Spending all my time in prayer and being saved from Hell
I would be known for piety, wisdom, and humility as well
And when they asked me to be abbot I’d sigh and acquiesce:
“Man makes the plans, but the answer’s from the Lord, I guess.”

I like to think that I’d like to be an exile from the world to God
I like to think that I’d be humble, pious, separate and odd
I like to think that I’d always remember that I am flawed
I like to think I’d give up gold and buy wisdom instead
But I know myself too well, so I weep and bow my head

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Kenneth O'Shaughnessy

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy

A Northerner by upbringing, Kenneth has lived in the South since his (first) college days. After returning to college, he began to do more than just dabble with writing, and has self-published a children's picture book, a middle-reader's book, and several collections of poetry. Baptized in the Roman Catholic church, raised in the fundamentalist Baptist church, and having spent time in the Reformed Baptist church, Kenneth settled down in the Eastern Orthodox church in 2006.

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