Poem: Grace in the Forest

old barn

Grace in the Forest

A tree grows close to the door.
A pair of inches thick, it tells you
just how long it has been since the old barn was used.

Here and there, panes are broken.
A mouse stares at you from the sill
then disappears.

Oddly, there is paint on the door still.
but nowhere else.
Each clapboard is grey and dried. A few are missing.

Parts of you are as abandoned as the old barn,
left to rot, not worth destroying,
a local landmark gone to seed.

But your bones are good. Strong and straight,
Sistered together, rebuilt from your near collapse,
a rebirth surprising, even to your self.

Something new has been rebuilt. Not a restoration,
Something unexpected. More true, less in need of paint,
less picturesque. Less prone to rot.

The old barn is lost to the woods.
No one loved or needed it enough to rescue it
from time and abandonment.

You too are a bystander. A taker of pictures,
a journaler of the decay and the remains.
no more.

Thankful for grace,
God’s. Your lover’s. Your own.
A foundation to build on, again and again

and again.

About this poem. 

Christians are prone to say we are “saved by grace.”  Fortunately, most don’t have to put that to the test. We avoid rock bottom. But a few of us do know the power of grace and unexpected love and forgiveness. And we are forever marked.

The Barn in the picture is not far from my house in Vermont.




  1. Grace is a gift for which I am increasingly grateful and over many decadesI have learned our capacity to recieve it grows exponentially when we learn to extend it to others with no obligation or expectation of return. Your words are a beautiful reminder of this. Thank you my friend.

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