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Roger Biehn

Honorable Mention: 2015 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $100

About this Poet:
I've always had a fascination (obsession?) with literature and enjoyed writing from time to time, although I have not ultimately pursued a writing career. I currently work as a controller for a farm equipment dealership and write when I can. Life has changed significantly for my wife Becky and myself with the arrival of our first child, daughter Danielle, who is now 15 months. Currently I am working my way through a number of biographies of people who interest me, helping me to understand major historical or religious figures. As far as poetry is concerned, perhaps it is reading T.S. Eliot that most makes me want to write (or read) poetry.

About this Poem:
"Daybreak over Sinai" was inspired by personal success, oddly enough. Having worked toward a goal for a while, I found reaching the finish line of that particular endeavour to be a deflating experience. Being a good introvert, this led to some self-examination which unearthed some problems of idolatry, as well as a greater understanding of the fleetingness of the stuff of earth. Only a true hunger and seeking after God can begin to fill the need we all feel but so often fail to understand.

Daybreak over Sinai

(1 Kings 19:11-13; Genesis 11:5-9)

On the summit when the breeze hit my back
I turned to take the wind on my face;
the moment of triumph dissolved in capitulation,
in wondering why I made the climb;
a heretic’s question, with no orthodox answer.
They don’t ask it in classrooms. They won’t discuss it in
boardrooms. The doubtless mask is king.

Here is the mountain top, the pinnacle,
the prime location to laud success, no elbow room left
for the soul to find satisfaction. Tears run
down the slopes, hidden in the mists, blown aside
in the gales, always running under, why, why, why.

Who can solace when the peak is the basement
of the soul; when the fight’s end enlightens
deep in the secret heart the icy thought
on which resolve slipped? I am no better,
no wiser, no higher, a crossed-off to-do
list summed to nothing.

Where is the touch of Midas, where is my gold,
where among the scraps of left-over conceits,
where I fashioned strength, victory, knowledge
plated like armour on the image: when did this dullness
set in, was it always there? Here I salve my knees,
raw with kneeling to my own ambition.

When did this climb become such steep descent?
As I dodge along the precipice trail,
there’s a hail of deafening crescendo,
the hollow voices faltering up the scale,
but a whisper broke me.

In the fire He will not be burning,
in the wind He will not be moved
in the flood He will not be covered.
His burning voice will fire my flickering heart.

Copyright ©2015 Roger Biehn