Light and Loveliness

Reflections of Emily Sue Allen

Life & Faith / Poetry

The Surface and the Center

examine close with fingertips
the raw feel of faith
dip and edge and crevice
touch rough, touch tough to tell
what lies beneath the surface

solid gold? cannot say
rarely looks of what it truly is
bravado hiding brokenness
or meekness shrouding wisdom surely there
the surface cannot tell the center’s tale

will it live in fire
or wash with rain?
will it flex or bend or break?
will it grow or hide away
in winds and shakes and pains

the slow drip of grace must make it in
to breathe and grow and leap
outside the skin that holds it fast
or holds it down
or holds it in

may it be true
may it be found among the weeds
or in the sand
wherever planted, springing up
to sing of freedom with no fear

awake, sleeper
now the time to trade in
all temporary treasures
for truth alone, the bridge

however surly or uncertain seems the surface
the center gives away the tale’s end


“Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Ps. 85:10 KJV

1251. inclusion on an unlikely team, 1252. coos and gurgles, 1253. cookie dough ice cream, 1254. victories in pacing the day and tuning my heart to right things, 1255. car conversations about cosmic things, like what it means to be made in God’s image? 1256. chocolate walnut banana bread and a 10 year old that puts all the ingredients away, almost ten anyway, 1257. to see a child succeed at something they struggle at, 1258. editing the most adorable newborn photos of a longtime friend (we’re talking 20 years), 1259. a husband who missed his bus to take out the trash, sweet guy, 1260. God’s unending, gentle, overwhelming grace for me

3 Comments The Surface and the Center

    1. Emily

      Thank you Jody. That is a loaded line that was birthed from a week of grief! So glad it spoke to you.

  1. Nancy Ruegg

    Such a beautiful, poignant poem, Emily. “The center’s tale” made me think of Corrie ten Boom’s story. Perhaps you’ve heard it, in spite of how young you are! As a young child Corrie was afraid of her family members dying, that she could never survive such tragedy. Papa ten Boom asked her, “When we go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your train ticket?” She replied, “Just before we get on the train.” Papa told her God would give her the faith she needed–when she needed it–for all of her life-experiences, including the deaths of loved ones. God did uphold Corrie through the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. Within the center of each of us who know Jesus, is the faith to face the tale of fire, rain, wind, or pain. Praise God!


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