(If you have not already done so, after reading this you should also check out the thread "Pilgrims Progress" by adonaicole.)


I awoke to a cacophony that filled the hall,​
Of glasses too large and talk way too small.​
Of jokes crude and vulgar and stories flamboyant,​
Traded for laughter just as cheap and abhorrent.​
Smokers busily chaining one 'light' to another,​
Killing themselves with one end, everybody else with the other.​

But the smoke stung my eyes as I breathed in vain,​
And the drink tasted stale and just clouded my brain.​
The talk and the gossip, so exceedingly small,​
Died in my ear and reached my mouth not at all.​
And on each back sat a burden, strapped on tightly.​
And with each glass, smoke and word they grew ever so slightly.​

" 'Tis not you but this pointless death I fear,​
Can anyone show me the way out of here?"​
But all were besotted and blurred of eye,​
Save one of sober manner who smiled and said, "Aye!"​
He was a man with a burden exceedingly scant,​
And he gave me a book and lit me a lamp.​

"This book will guide you and the lamp keep you safe​
From pitfalls and stumbling blocks and the snares of this place."​
"Come", I said, "I've seen how they laugh and deride,​
You deserve better than that, come with me outside."​
But he just smiled and warmly took my hand in his two,​
"Soon, but for now there are some more here like you."​
So I left him there with his books and his lamps​
And discovered the door and learned the secret of its clamps.​

Outside other doors stood wide and ajar,​
From the outside at least, not a lock or a bar.​
Some flashed neon and some, bright gaudy colours,​
Some sprouted spruickers and the fleshy antics of others.​
Some looked like pubs and some looked like palaces,​
And temples and churches, and like red-lighted fallacies.​
But the book said ignore them, for none that you see​
Can keep you safe - look only for me​

So I passed all these, though some slower than others,
And some who would have stopped me and made me their lovers.​
With nose in book, one footstep at a time,​
Back bent double, burdened from neck to behind,​
Thus I traveled long, and thus I traveled far,​
Until stopped by a gate - narrow - but ajar!​

But I could not enter for the burden on my back.​
I could fit, but not the girth of my pack.​
I looked for a buckle but only a lock I found.​
But no key could I discover - though I looked all around.​
A tap on the shoulder made me stop and look.​
"Hi! My name's Peter - I'm in the book!"​

"Now this gate has really been opened to all,​
But as you can see they must first make a call!​
The one with the key waits by the cross on yon hill.​
It cost His life's blood - but help you freely He will!"​
What little energy I had left was spent quickly upon the climb,​
But almost ere I'd started two pierced hands warmly clasped mine.​

To endless mercy I announced, "I've come for the key."​
Mercy smiled and Mercy spoke, "My brother that would be me."​
And scarred hands touched the lock and it opened with a snap,​
But my burden sat unmoving in its niche upon my back.​
"Unlocking is the easy bit - my sacrifice made it so,​
The real question is - are you ready to let it go?"​

Then I began to understand the secret of the gate​
This burden was everything I had - and none could I take.​
Sins mixed with dreams, and pride alongside shame,​
Good deeds and bad deeds and reputations all in vain.​
None of it mattered the other side of that gate.​
It's only what I do from now that will seal my fate.​

So with all my might I shucked and I shook,​
As I watched Him enter my name in His book.​
And when the time comes I'll fit through Heaven's gate,​
As Jesus helps me unload all the thing's I can't take.​
But in the meantime His burden is light,​
Just books and lamps to illuminate the night!​

D.J. Ludlow Copyright 2003.