by Richard Stoltzfoos

I lay a slender sword against his chest;
Against his lips a liquid black I press.
He never cowers, but—receives the draught.
And—this next action I have never caught—

He sleights in part my heart away, and ever
I aching love the piece so subtly severed.


Despite this rite, our friendship takes no strains;
He listens, shares my shames and joys, complains
Never, a man who does not measure time,
Of total interest the paradigm,

Spell-bound, committed to the covenant:
I keep him safe, he keeps my confidence.


When discourse dries, he binds my words into
His fragile wooden heart, while pledging to
Remind me later if I deify
Myself or prideful me esteem too high.

Thou, Lord, canst with such traits a page imbue;
Not envy, but those traits, in me renew.



I wonder, Lord—when You were Man—
And when—and if —You picked up pen—

Was there a shock when first You thought
The paper seemed so frail?
Or hesitation to Your hand
As You saw pen as nail?
Perhaps the pen was like a spear
Pressed to the paper’s side,
Or black-galled reed that brought no ease
To thirst-dried Crucified.

the paper—
humble victim—
willing to
be laid down, writ with wrong, and wadded
At the whim of men—
Or laid away till some Third Day
And then brought forth again.



Praise Your mighty greatness, risen Lord,
That on third day triumphantly with shouts
God brought You forth and joyfully with crowds
Of angels read on You the Song above
All songs, the Gospel of uncharted Love—
Praise Your name! Let all creations now
Gather as one, kneel down, and worship our
True Word, our living King and rightful Lord.

Richard Stoltzfoos is a follower of Christ and Gen-Z romantic living in wonder of the world around him.

Photography by Kenneth Godoy

One thought on “Richard Stoltzfoos: Triumph”

  1. I love the multiple layers of meaning in this poem. It was when I read “Red” (perhaps my favorite part; it’s all so well-laid-out and inevitable and full of wordplay) that I caught on to what was going on, and went back to discover the first part more fully.
    And then the way it opens into ‘the Gospel of uncharted Love’….

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