Poetry by Hannah Bates


O Profanity!
You and your vanity
have taken love and perverted it.
You knew the truth, but deserted it
to better grasp insanity.

O Lust!
So cold hearted and unjust,
you’ve laid waste to true beauty,
distracted us from duty,
and returned nothing to us but dust.
O Neglect!
Such a lack of intellect.
You tell us we are unworthy;
we are a silent people, hurting.
You have exiled introspect.
O Depravity!
You hold us down like gravity.
Though we hide, you find us,
and with shackles of sin bind us,
leaving in each heart a cavity.
O Purity!
Your strength is our security.
We find acceptance in your arms
as you defend against alarm.
You understand us even in our obscurity.

One, two, three

One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready,
Please don’t go.
We are solitary souls in a lonely land.
Just take me by the hand so we won’t be alone again.
See that beautiful shipwreck in a dreary sea . . .
Look a little closer and you’ll see that it’s me.
I know what a beautiful shipwreck you’ll be.
To be this broken is just what we need.
One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready,
Please don’t go.
I hope you hear what I’m saying. Listen in.
I’d forgotten again what a fool I’ve been.
Do you hear that sound? It’s the solemn cry
of a man who lived and never told a lie.
It was all for us that He had to die.
But He lives in my soul, which I can’t deny.
One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready,
Please don’t go.
There’s still something I have to do.
I’ll give you a clue; it’s about you.
For a long time now I’ve knelt and prayed,
and I’ve sat and waited patiently for days and days.
I know God wants you and He won’t be swayed
‘til Jesus lives in your heart and you let Him stay.
One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready,
Please don’t go.
Once a man named Judas betrayed his friend
for a few coins to spend and torment with no end.
He told the Pharisees the signal was this:
he’d walk up to Jesus to give Him a kiss.
The disciples dreaded how much they would miss
the man Judas Iscariot betrayed with a kiss.
Judas betrayed One for the money.
Pilate offered Two for the show.
Peter was warned: Three, to get ready,
then the cock would crow,
that he would deny Jesus
saying he didn’t know.
“Father, forgive them.”
Then Jesus would go.


I am white.
Yeah, that’s right. I said “I am white”
and if that makes you want to fight
I guess that’s alright,
but don’t blame me.
I had no hand in this, you see.
I’m just like my three brothers,
my father and my mother
and so many others
who just showed up one day
not colored black, yellow, gray
and none of us had any say.
We were created this way.
God made this place,
gave us a certain color of face
and someone decided to hate
and labeled the colors “race.”
Now we all do each other damage,
every person on a rampage,
letting judgment out of its cage
to terrorize people of every age.
I swear they’re savage
about flaunting color like plumage
so we can run through every village,
leaving each in ruin and ravage.
We stomp each other’s hearts like cabbage
because the skin of every visage
is a little bit different in tinge.
We neglect to remember that we are all created in the same image.
An image that fits us like a glove.
The image of our God who resides above.
The image of our God of love.
He wants us to be love.
But we choose instead to hate,
to judge and discriminate.
So, maybe I am white,
but only in your sight,
you who want to fight
away every hour of the night,
to terrorize, fill with fright
every person in their plight.
But I remember Sunday school, right;
singing “Red and yellow, black and white;
they are precious in His sight . . .”
Red and yellow. Black and white.
Colors mean nothing in God’s sight,
so I don’t want to fight.
We hold in our chests beating hearts.
Beating in proverbial stop-and-start.
The same color races through all of our veins
and everyone gets soaked if they stand in the rain;
black, yellow, grey, white skin just the same.
What I’m trying to say is that I’m just like you, man,
child, wo-man.
We are all human.
Copyright 2010 Hannah Bates

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