The Old Man in the Sky


Tears, tears, tears, endless tears!—
And up there in the sky
An Old Man, ancient of years,
Looks down with a dry eye.

An Old Man all alone
Above the clouds so high,
Placed on a golden throne
And round him angels fly.

Mock not, my friend, mock not!
The Wise One far above,
He knows, he plans your lot,
From atoms of pure Love.

The little stars that twinkle,
He pastes them in the sky,
And every single wrinkle
You’ve got, and every sigh,

He makes for you and me, friend,
(Who weep here, wail and cry)
For purposes unknown, friend—
Ask not the reason why.

— XANADU, Translations from a Lost Language

13 thoughts to “The Old Man in the Sky”

  1. I like this poem. It is a deep and thoughtful poetic surmise of Him. He would not be displeased! (He might even be amused!!)

    1. LD will be pleased with your verdict. No one loves God more than her. And questioning God’s mysterious ways, including his existence, is unlikely to displease God. It may even, as you say, amuse him. You never cease to surprise me, Gilbert. I hope you are on the mend now and that this summer may bring you better health and many blessings.

      1. Thank you, Sister. I AM on the mend, but it is taxing on my strength and sleep! (I suffer from insomnia, mainly.)
        I have often contemplated my .16 gauge “solution” (suicide by my favorite shotgun), but wonder what’s on “the other side”, in that case. My ideal “funeral” is to be disposed of by the ‘possums, ‘coons, coyotes, and bears, in the mountains, anyway – and would not be so inconsiderate as to make a mess in the house for someone to clean up! I’ve seen that,
        and it isn’t pretty. My roommate in college had a younger brother in school, there, and his mother had turned him into a Texas Bible Thumper.
        When I came back to the house one afternoon, my roommate was sitting in the kitchen, crying, and drinking a margarita, with a .44 magnum revolver on his lap. I asked him what-the-hell was wrong, and he told me his little brother had come to our house, sat in the shower, drawn the curtain, and blown off his head with a .41 magnum Smith & Wesson. I went back to the bathroom to see, and, WHAT A MESS!
        His suicide note to his mother read that he “wanted to end his life before he committed so many sins that he wouldn’t be allowed into Heaven” (!!!)
        (I’d much rather let the animals dispose of me than for my friends or family to see me that way!)
        (btw, I’ve decided NOT to do it!)

        1. I won’t tell you to “cheer up”, Gilbert. That wouldn’t help. But this is the advice Lasha has given others in your position, and they have found it helpful:

          Meditate every morning in a semi-darkened room with your eyes shut. Open your Bible at random and read a few verses, or read your favorite passages and find new meanings in them. Then, when your mind is focussed and you feel you have entered a state of higher consciousness, attempt some trance writing. By which I mean automatic or semi-automatic writing.

          Nothing will come of this if you sit down with the intention of writing something. Only write if the writing comes to you spontaneously, without any effort. You don’t write the poem … the poem writes itself. You will find this practice most helpful and therapeutic. Your best poems will not come from you but from another source. They will take you by surprise.

          One hour of deep meditation is better than 10 hours of psychotherapy under a skilled practitioner. The best mind doctor is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. (BTW, the word “comforter” in its biblical sense does not mean “one who gives comfort”, it means “one who gives strength: the Strengthener. From the Latin “fortis”, strong/brave, from which we get the word “fortitude”).

          The mind as it heals will affect the body and give it healing strength. Just as gloomy thoughts poison the body, cheerful thoughts invigorate it. However, in the end we all have to die. We all have to take the final step into the dark. Best not to think of suicide even as a last resort!

          Many heavens and hells exist. “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” All of us need to fix our gaze on heaven.

          My two cents … apologies for this off-topic comment.

      2. Thanks, Sister…but I am NOT depressed. Rather, I am frustrated and angry with myself for my physical decline. Not long ago, I was very energetic and industrious. Things came easy to me, and I had a lot going on. Now, I think of many projects I want to accomplish, but am unable to get a good start. I am too slow in “mending” to suit myself! 🙁

      3. Forgive my intrusion Gilbert Huntley. Please consider one thing, maybe the most important one at all: The mind is timeless/ageless while the body decays and eventually vanishes which leaves the manager of the mind “the claiming selfish owner of the body” the ego of identity in despair with one solution left – to destroy itself as when the body comes to its natural end it seems like the only reasonable choice to do as the ego’s control is a powerful illusion that will end instantly with the body but is leaving imprints in a timeless mind that only has one destiny and origin.

        The mind is a marvellous and powerful tool just as the body could be in an environment untouched by darkness, evil and painful suffering. To detach oneself from the body while pulling a trigger is not a solution but to use one’s mind to “go” beyond the body is a desirable act as all answers are given along the way. Evolution of the spiritual world in one’s own bubble of self creation and isolation connecting itself back to creation where no illusion of separation is to be found.

        Oneness, harmony, peace and love will be the instant reward, eternity is the destination and a loving home that never will be left again for a foolish self-centered torture of oneself and the enemies created.

        Thanks for your compassion and empathy Sister Monika.

  2. Yogi Bhajan, a Teacher and God-giver (!), not GOD per se, begins a substantially similar story of Creation and its CONsequences with “GOD got bored.”

    I had a dream once, one of those hyper-realistic dreams, wherein I met MY old man. This man, a titular father and putative parent, passed before he completed his fifth decade, before I completed a second decade on this planet. I grieved for several hours, then moved on, changes occur, some presences differ little from their absence.

    Some many years later, I found myself in his presence again. He reclined on some sort of raised bed, surrounded by several or more women. I gained his attention for once, he had paid so little to me before, at least, that I remember. I got to tell him what I had always wanted to say to him before he left. “We could have had so much fun together!”

    Same applies here & now with God and me, me and you, you and God, ALL BEING ONE. A happy dream, indeed!

      1. Thank you, Darrell, both for your comment and, most especially, for the link! Wife and I have occupied, resided, cultivated, and lived where we do — just down the road from Nowheresville, my slim claim to poetic status here. In the foothills, locals label those who come from the Bay Area or the Central Valley “flatlanders”, ironically. After about 15 years or so, having been well rounded by the physcial, social, and psychological environment hereabouts, one can join in community, proving if only by longevity and good behavior (for here), that one really belongs.

        Reading through the comments posted under your poem — I suspect the centering and line breaks were not those of your original manuscript (;-}) — I had first the surprise of almost complete name recognition of commenters! What an intrepid bunch to surf the waves of Cyber-See for so long in mutual company! I also had an eyes and throat episode — clearly I have more to grieve with my old man.

        Thanks to, all denizens, oldies and newbies. I can imagine now much more clearly, the wealth of insight, thought, and debate here. A precious oasis, even for those who aspire to live in Nowheresville, like me! GOD bless and keep each and all of us!

        1. ALAN DONELSON: “Reading through the comments posted under your poem — I suspect the centering and line breaks were not those of your original manuscript.” (;-})

          @ Darrell Wright

          If you object to the line breaks and centering (as Alan Donelson appears to do in his typically charming way), please resubmit the poem with your preferred formatting and we will make the necessary changes. We have reformatted the poem so as to get rid of the centering, which is admittedly bad, but the line spacing I think is your own. Please let us know if you are satisfied with this new formatting or if you would like any further changes.

          Also, if you would like a change of picture, feel free to suggest an alternative.

  3. For those for whom the name Miles Williams Mathis does not elevate convoluted eyebrows, down-curve lips, and squint they eyes, you might enjoy reading MWM’s The Spirit and the Muse [, first published 12 Apr 2019 ]: In the opening salvo, MWM wrote: “Talk of spiritual matters has historically been couched in unnecessary mystery, complexity, nebulosity, and mumbo-jumbo. As with science and some other fields, anytime anyone has anything to say about spirituality, he feels the need to go cloudy, approaching every question from the side in great circles of fluff, instead of simply and directly. Even Jesus spoke in parables, though we are never told exactly why. Nothing has caused more confusion over the millennia than religions.”

    Another excerpt (recall Flatlanders, the war of 3D vs. 2D? Gets much more interesting with 4D, 5D, to Infinity!): “It helps to look at it from the point of view of the next level. Imagine a planet not too far away—it could be in our own Solar System for all we know, hidden from view. This planet is the next step in the ladder. Well, those folks don’t want your corruption. They have a system that works very much better than ours, and they don’t need us there clogging it up. So until we prove we can live there without causing mayhem, we aren’t welcome. If we insist on being nasty, we can do that very well here.”

    And so on and so forth, Souldjears!

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