Four Poems


Amanda Laughtland





For the Kingdom of Heaven Is at Hand



To prepare the way of the Lord, all the region

were baptized, confessing their sins,

to make His paths straight (I am

not straight). A voice said, repent,


said the ax is laid to the root of the trees,

said every tree which does not bear

good fruit (I cannot bear it) is thrown

into the fire, said the chaff (which I never


chose to be) shall burn unquenchably

when the wheat is in the barn.





Fishers of Men



He came to dwell by the Sea of Galilee.

People who sat in darkness have seen

a great light. When I pray, I see

quiet depths where fishing nets can’t reach,

where creatures know the idea of light

though we can’t see it shine. Could the darkest sea


be filled with love? He saw two brothers, casting their nets.

He called, and they left their nets and followed Him.

He saw two other brothers with their father,

mending their nets. He called again,

and they left their father and followed Him.

Could I learn to swim beside your body in the sea


if neither of us will say follow me?





An Epistle



Count it all joy when you fall

into various trials. Let patience

have its perfect work. I will wait for you


by an inland sea never mentioned

in the Old or New Testament. I will be swift

to hear, slow to speak. I will know


that to doubt is to be double-minded,

to receive nothing from the Lord.

Every good gift and every perfect gift


is from above, from the Father of lights

with whom there is no shadow

though there are shadows cast by clouds


upon our earth, as you or I will see

when I return to you or you to me, one of us

looking out the airplane window, ready


to tell the other of her journey.





He Opened His Mouth and Taught Them, Saying



Blessed are they, for they shall—

Blessed are they, for theirs is—

Blessed are you when they say

all kinds of evil against you


for My sake. (They will say it

for my sake, too.) If your right hand

causes you to sin, cut it off

(for you have always been left-handed).


Blessed are you: you are the salt,

but if the salt loses its flavor,

it is good for nothing but to be trampled

by men. Let your Yes be Yes.


Rejoice and be exceedingly glad

for great is your reward.









Amanda Laughtland lives in the suburbs of Seattle and teaches English at a local college.  Her work appeared in issues 8, 14 and 24 of E·ratio.  Her poems included here incorporate found text from the New King James translation of the Bible. 



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