Author: cliffordhennings

Hope Arisen

Below is a poem by Mdiv student, Clifford Hennings, OFM. To read another poem by Clifford, click here.

A Lake Michigan sunrise (credit: Melissa Carnall)

O what a new day, the sun picking up and the darkness falling

Bristling rays paint colors clean and the earth shrugs the dew.

Early melodies fill the air and charm the wind to dance anew

And I greet it with a quieted soul, still and reverent to its calling.

The dreams that caged this restless spirit have now dropped away

Fleeing with the somber moon to leave me with this day.

What approaches is a mystery, and yet its promise so enthralling .

A time to find that which my heart has for a lifetime sought

The cache for which by heavenly grace I have so sternly fought

Is glimmering in the dawning light, to it my soul is crawling.

To cast aside this awesome promise and fritter away the time

Would be to rebuke what lies ahead, a covenant sublime.

Yes that ignoble deed would be an action most gravely galling

To the righteous hand that has shaped  beauty by a word

And wrongly call the breath of life, a curse idly slurred

So yes I say to the risen sun I will heed the master’s calling.

I will chase what eternal providence has so kindly borne for me,

Starry eyed with arms outstretched, enraptured and wholly free


Acumen of a Well Worn Traveler

By: Clifford Hennings

To whom do your feet belong,

on whose ground does your journey lay?

Whose seal does your forehead bear

and whose light guides your travel’s way?

In whom does your heart find rest,

and swoon at the sovereign’s voice?

To whom does your hand stretch out

and at whose triumph does your soul rejoice?

I see two ways which we might go,

the first is dark and its scene austere,

The lane is narrow with twist and turn

Peril lurks if you should from it veer

The second cuts through open range,

Verdant and smelling of sweet perfume

Its grass softens your easy gait,

While eyes feast on countless bloom.

To answer which might you choose,

should seem a simple task I’m sure,

But what of where these passages end,

and in whose company important all the more!

You take the first for an empty tomb to find

And pilgrim along with a godly friend

Take the second for an barren heart to get

Alone with no one to help it mend

Give back to Caesar that which is his,

and to God in Heaven what is His by right.

Yet if you should covet the bullion of men,

I fear its shimmer will haze your sight

The richest path holds neither gold nor fame

But boasts a cross, a most blessed tree

Strength is found in stooping low,

Wealth is gained in generosity.

Glory earned in shouldering the beam,

Honor in putting the weak ahead.

Virtue found in searching wisdom,

Power borne from being led.

Drop your bags of earthly charms

and give to God what belongs to Him,

What is His I tell you is your very self,

Craft your life a gracious hymn.

Do this child of mercy’s home,

And you shall know Heaven’s gate,

Follow the way kings scarcely trod,

And at the entry will Beauty for you wait

Make your home the place unseen

And teacher be the prince of peace

Forget the baubles which envy holds

And cling to Him that shall never cease.