To a Bluebonnet

Harbinger of spring
Fashion plate with delicate
Blue and White flowers with green leaves.
Ringing out that winter is gone with its
Cruel blast of Arctic wind that rules
The Temperate Zone with numbing freeze.
Delicate flower of the Texas Plain
Growth uninterrupted through the fall and winter rain
Covered in snow but growing on
Until the warm spring days bring forth
Delicate blue and white flowers,
That burst forth in springtime songs
To tell of all the things that are to be...
And of all the things that have been.
Roots nourishing on the decayed bones of buffalo,
Growing in land that was trodden on by hooves of Indian Ponies.
Limestone rock laid under ancient seas.
Flowers of prehistoric times
Surviving through drought, flood, fire...
Plants growing from seed lying in the ground.
Unable to grow until a time determined by nature's law,
Bringing it forth to spring out of the soil.
Delicate flower of thee I sing
Praises on your beautiful frame
That shows forth the work of God.
You who can survive the stress of time
And bloom with brilliance every spring.
Send hope that the human race will also
Survive Atomic bombs, pestilence and flood
To do the work of the Divine
Who was resurrected at Eastertime.

By Luther Butler


I took the other road; the one you did not take.
It was not any better; it was not any worse.
But like you, I wondered what the other road was like,
The one I did not take.
Perhaps if you were here you could tell me because you took the other road.
The one I did not take.

By Luther Butler


We are the pessimists of the earth,
The grippers and the cynics.
We see the black and never the light.
We are a lost generation
Born in a depression, raised in a war.
Our eyes are green with lust.
We want all we can get while the getting is good.
Our golden rule, "Do unto others before they do unto you
If you are wise you will give us what we want.
We want everything, and we give nothing.
Violence and hate is our creed,
And we gain what we want by might.

By Luther Butler


To the God who made this man great,
Give me the attributes he had:
Give me a pure heart, a clear mind,
Honesty, Courage and Character.
Not that I may have praise of Public,
Nor serve in the same capacity he did.
But, in whatever place in life I fill,
I may do my task in the manner he has done -
Without fear of reproach of others
So if someday some person should think of me,
As I am now thinking of Lincoln,
That person can make this same prayer to You.

By Luther Butler


Sirens wail,
Our television blares.
A tornado in on the ground
Plus two or three or more are in the air.
"Take cover immediately."
"God, I will repent.
Just show me a safe place to hide.
I will not climb a wall in the hall,
Nor be buried under a bathroom tile."
No, this time I shall be a man.
With my chest bared to the wind,
I will spit in the devil's eye.
Even as I rise to meet my Maker unafraid
Wind shall sweep through my hair.
Like Elijah, I shall be taken up into the sky.
"Aren't you coming to bed?" my wife asks.
"In a moment."
"Look, the tornado missed us an hour ago,
Why can't you come to bed?"
""I am stuck under it, that is why."
"I shall not be afraid, only terrified."

By Luther Butler


Flying over the earth so round,
Seeing Africa go by in daylight,
Picking up South America.
Asia's over there a ways.
China's mountains keeps India isolated.
Here's Central America.
There's New York on your right.
Chicago's on your left,
Nome'll be under you soon.
London, we shan't see tonight,
She's all fogged in
As is Boston on our next rotation.
Isn't it a sight!
Seeing the lights,
From up here all is right.
Really though, Iran's fighting Iraq I see.
Russia's after Afghanistan or is it Pakistan?
Soon Syria'll fight Israel if Egypt doesn't.
Central America's a mess down there,
With Contras fighting Sandinistas,
And Russia wanting to get in the middle of it all.
Why doesn't everyone get a rocket?
And go in orbit.
And let the world rest,
Cause it won't fight with everyone off it.
Or, will it?

By Luther Butler


The leaves fall down at Andersonville.
For over a hundred years they have moldered
Over graves where men lived and died
Of plague, starvation, and bloody flux.
Under the accumulations of seasons,
Footprints are hidden by moldering debris
Which cannot mask all odors of those who
Struggled to live and died surrounded by walls
That cannot obliterate the smells of Andersonville.
Confederates in gray upon the walls,
Yankees in tattered blue below them
Fighting not for their country's honor
But for the right to molder and decay and
Die at Andersonville.
Honeysuckle grows over those hallowed grounds
As woodbine creeps among the fallen leaves
Where birds flit among the ruins
And vie with squirrels for
Nuts and seed grown on grass
Which fed on those in blue
Who gave their lives at Andersonville.
((In memory of those Union soldiers who died in the Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia.)

By Luther Butler


Deer antlers on display in my driveway,
Six points signifying six years,
The bearer of this proud outgrowth
Dwelt on this earth.
Proud beast of the Texas woodland
Siring a herd of does making him
Father of a herd of fawns each year in his image
Running through the post oak and the mesquite,
Friend of the jay and the squirrel.
Proud beast shot down in the prime of life
By a poacher hunting out of season.
Left to lie in a hidden ravine and rot
By one who shot for sport.
A coward who didn't dare recover your carcass
That wasn't torn by buzzard, fox, or lesser beast
Feasting on your body to perpetuate life in the forest glen.
A waste was your life's end
For God made life to give life, and not to end
Lying in desolate weeds of a ravine
Hidden from the eyes of other men.
God made your life to carry on life in times of famine.
One man hidden along a country road
Brought your life to a wasted end.
Unkept, unused for food or warmth
Your body lay there on the cruel ground,
A thing of beauty marred by death.
I found you lying there
Shot before hunting season started
By two days, your hunter afraid to look
And find your carcass for meat
For his family and friends.
I grieve for you who was shot down in life's prime,
A little past being an old buck with strong ardor beating.
Still able to sire a strong fawn during the
The late summer heat and early fall's frost.
Still of use to God and man on the universe.
Still waiting for the long winter's cold blast.
Still able to leap the fences and graze the grass
That sustained your life under the skies.
Full six years past and more to come
Cut down by the blast of a rifle
Triggered by a thoughtless hunter on a county road.
A man wanting that which was not his for two day's more.
He not giving you a chance to be hunted legally
In the fall season of the time
Paced by laws of man when you could be killed
For food to carry a family through the winter.
How often are we cut down in life
Before the time appointed us to be killed
By those who unmercifully want our part.
That we have built up by ambition and work
So that they can tear it down, and
For a brief time live on what we have done?

By Luther Butler

In my youth
I wanted to climb mountains.
From crag to crag, I intended to go.
Sometime I knew I would find one
Where no one else had ever been.
Instead of climbing mountains
There was Korea.
After which children in a slum demanded my love.
At last after years of waiting, I had a son.
Then my home was in the flatlands
Helping men grow grain.
Now the other world is through with me,
But I can't climb mountains anymore.
You can keep your pearly gates
With streets of glittering gold.
For eternity let me climb mountains
So I can find the tallest one.

By Luther Butler


Let me put my dangling participle into your tightly close
quotation marks,
And expand them to encircling brackets until I reach your
exclamation mark with my probing question mark.
Perhaps you will see asterisks while I try to turn negative
sentences into positive ones.
Periods of rest may be followed by another dash to find where
your apostrophe is hidden among a maze of run-on sentences and dependent clauses separated by a dainty comma.
How good it will feel if my throbbing exclamation mark explodes into
a myriad number of dots and dashes.
After this, I'll explore your misplaced commas with something
A gentle, wet exploring in your dot may do.
The complexity of this task is caused by both of us being in
the confinement of tightly constructed sentences that will not give or
take loosely constructed phrases or clauses
But, who knows? The best of us split infinitives occasionally.

By Luther Butler


"I will look unto the hills from whence cometh my help."
Purple are they in the moonlight;
Grey are they in the morning's first light.
Dappled are they at noon with trees and dales,
But in the evening as the sun goes down,
Then I love them most.
Sometimes their purple tops in the setting sun
Glow with a crimson red
Like the blood that flowed from Calvary.
Sometimes they are pink on top with white sides
Like a lady decked in pink and white.
Moonlight, noon light, twilight
Winter, spring, summer, fall;
The hills are ever changing,
Yet eternally the same.
They are my home.

By Luther Butler


Dark skies, dim stars,
The world is adrift in darkness.
No light, no sight, nothing but blackness.
Sighs here, cries there, something is travailing.
Man dies, powder burns, fuse sputters shorter,
What is happening in this world today?
Nothing! No one knows! I don't. Do you?
Hope is all gone, faith is smothered by fears,
Waster here, nothing there, sadness is everywhere;
Sight is gone, hate rules all.
Why fight for what is right? What is right?
No one knows. Light is gone and evil rules.
Men lovers of self, ignore their God.
Are we doomed? Is there no hope?
Something new is stirring in the moor,
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

By Luther Butler


It is a beauteous time of the year.
The fall rains have passed.
Nature rests from the plenteous heat;
There is a stillness in the air
That echoes in the greeness of the grass.
The last rose blooms amidst the flower,
And it sheds a shadow on the pavement.
There are thoughts in the season.
The leaves turn gold and yellow
Fluttering to the ground upon gentle wings.
The birds flit in the autumn sunlight,
As thoughts upon the summer fade away.
Soon the cold days of winter will be here
But the memory of this one day will sustain me
As do my thoughts of you.
(Dedicated to my Wife and Son.)

By Luther Butler


Last time I was down here fishing at Matagorda Peninsula
Four Mile Cut wasn't here.
Something about the oil people getting mad,
And turning the water loose.
Four-Mile Cut, you ruined my fishing trip.
I intended to go up to the shell bank.
I wonder if the oil people know, or care?

By Luther Butler

(Matagorda Peninsula is on the Texas Coast west of Houston. It's some good place.)


Is acid eating your stomach lining?
How about your blood pressure?
Is your mind in turmoil about having to waste
Your life while waiting for others?
Remember, while on a train
Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address on an envelope.
His speech still shakes a nation.
Instead of fretting and
Killing yourself from frustration,
Write a poem,
And live longer.

By Luther Butler


The officials who knocked on his door, said,
"You've cleaned up the town by,
making the camel dealers be truthful,
and by making the money changers be honest.
You've healed the sick and raised the dead."
"And?" he asked.
"We're taking you to your temple to make you king."
 "I don't see any chariot pulled by white horses."
Suspicion was in his voice.
"We are going to do it according to the scriptures.
You are to ride on one of great David's royal asses."
"The crowd with palm branches?"
"They'll make the path green with the royal plant."
"Let me get my coat and hat."
"No need," they said. "We have a purple robe."
"The gold crown is mine?" he asked in awe.
"It is yours.
Wear it proudly when you sit on your golden throne."
The multitude cheered him on his way.
Too late he found the crown was thorns.
His purple robe was split. The armored multitude carried swords and spears,
And the golden throne was a cruel cross
Built by the camel dealers and the moneychangers.
"Were you there when they crucified my Lord?"

By Luther Butler

We went back after they finished shoveling dirt into her grave.
Heat made the grama grass dry and twisted.
Since a hot Texas sun sucked June moisture, there was no green left.
Cicadas worked at a loud and noisy song that screamed for water,
And the beaming light twisted and turned into optical illusion
That made mad men see sticks turn into rattlesnakes.
"You still want to be buried here by your parents?"
"If you don't mind," she answered.
"We better buy our plots this time."
"You plan on dying?"
I answered, "At our age one never knows."
"You want a double tombstone?" she asked.
After I agreed, I thought about the Texas heat.
Hell, I wouldn't hurt her for anything, but if she dies first,
They can put my name on the tombstone,
But I may have my corpse shipped to Colorado,
If the ground isn't frozen too hard to dig.

By Luther Butler


From under a cold, gray winter sky
We feel the chagrin in losing our own,
And nothing comes but, "Why?"
Why must he rest under a cold, frozen ground?
We loved him so when we remember his boyish grin,
And we still remember the guilt of anger we knew
When some of his ways were against our ways,
For he was an individual, we know,
Made by God for a reason.
I cannot give you an answer,
Only that you might find the strength of the live oak,
But when early spring brightens the sky,
Perhaps when blue bonnets bloom
Among the other myriad blossoms,
A yellow butterfly shall dip,
And a gentle wind blowing the grass
Shall whisper the answer,
And you will know God's reason.
I really hope so, I really do.

(February 12, 1994)
By Luther Butler


The creamy-white Easter lily blooms by the bird fountain.
Its loveliness adds a spring beauty to the backyard flower garden.
A redbird sits on the fountain and drinks water.
Soon it will fly back to its grown fledglings.
They are ready to leave the nest.
A squirrel brings her almost grown young to eat sunflower seed.
Hulls fall on the fragile, lovely Easter lily,
Blooming on the first day of June.

By Luther Butler


Navy men in Maryland marching
Through the snow we marched.
Men to the left and men to the right,
Men to the front and men to the rear.
We marched in tight formation with our rifles
Pointed toward the sky.
There were clouds above us,
Those we would not shoot.
We were dressed in blue and white
Though the white was only on our heads.
Our rifle barrels were plugged.
The enemy was in Korea.
A flock of seagulls circled and swooped above us,
Mother Machree's chickens,
God's noblest birds,
We passed the reviewing stand together.
We were the ex-hospital company who had survived the flu.
The seagulls fell in behind us
In perfect formation they marched two by two
Picking up the snot.

By Luther Butler


Thirty or more fat toads sat glaring
Their eyes were steely mean as they sought to destroy a warrior.
Some had hair; some had none; and some had half and half,
My God it's true, it was a sight I saw.
Some had been warriors when it was popular to be warriors,
Now it was popular to be peaceful, fat toads who made no waves.
"You lied," they said in deep baritones, tenors and very little bass. "You lied in protecting our lily pond."
"It's true," the Warrior said. "I lied to save lives other than my own."
"You are a Warrior, and Warriors cannot lie, it's true."
"But I only sought to protect my country and it's people with my own life."
"Guilty," all the toads said in unison. "It's clear you are guilty, it's true"
Before a judgement could be pronounced, there came the sounds of men marching.
"Honorable Toads, they come marching."
"Who comes marching?" they cried in unison.
"The enemies of the lily pond come marching with many soldiers."
Turning to the Warrior, they asked in a chorus,
"Will you give your life for us?" they pleaded.
"Not I," said the Warrior,
"You have tried to prove me guilty of committing schemes against the government."
"Will you sacrifice the safety of your family?"
"Get you another kicking boy. I tried to protect you when you when the enemy was sighted four hundred miles from our border."
"But now the enemy is outside the walls. We implore you to protect us."
"I lie. I am a deceiver and a cheat. I am not worthy to give my life for your lily pad."
Thus ended Democracy on a July day, 1987 AD without a warrior who lied to protect his country.
I cried as I turned off the T.V.

By Luther Butler


Edgar is gone today.
Cancer, they say, of the lymph glands.
At his age it is hard to do anything.
There is a chance that he may come home.
It looks kind of rough for you, though,
Isolated like this out here.
You would probably start killing chickens.
Wonder what we can do for you?
No one wants you at your age.
Town life would be crowded,
Besides you howl at the moon.
Guess someone will have to shoot you.
Maybe his sons will.
I won't.

By Luther Butler


When I consider how the money of this state
Is wasted on antique furniture and big desks
For little men in large offices to waste their time.
How that men who are hired to help
Use their talent and time to cause trouble,
Then I am tempted to say democracy will not survive
Until one day when those who deceive
Are driven out of office.
(Dedicated to former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Jim Hightower)

By Luther Butler


I have felt the acid rain,
I have smelt the dying fish.
From somewhere DDT turned to DDE in my fatty flesh,
And a new born baby died in its mother's womb because of chemical toxicity.
I heard a little child's cry as it sought a teat that was dry;
Somewhere a farmer's crop ruined because of insects, and there was no food for the little child, or his brother and sister.
Somewhere a brown pelican died in the shell because of DDT,
And I heard a farmer's tractor plowing up the grassy sod, and I watched rivers turn brown with silt.
A seagull covered with oil slick, drowned, and the beach turned to tar balls.
An old man died because of natural pain.
Once, I caught a wad of plastic on a hook, and a few days later a whale died because of undigested plastic sheeting.
Proctor and Gamble let soap suds run down the Ohio River to Louisville.
My white tennis shoes were black with oil that made the fish as uneatable as the mercury contaminated fish in Michigan's lake.
I have heard of holes in the ionosphere caused by people spraying their stinking armpits.
And, they say there is a layer of smog that is melting the earth's icecaps.
My car's exhaust puts out a thin black smoke and Colorado's spruce and pines die.
But, I can't see anymore because an organic phosphate insecticide burned out my eyes.
Which is what this poem is all about, anyway.

By Luther Butler


When you turned and walked away
Old and bent over a walker,
Your shirttail hanging out,
I had to cry.
You were young once.
We dreamed dreams,
And played
While we built castles in the sky.
What took you away?
Was it the war
That changed your castles
To dungeons in your mind?

By Luther Butler


Darkness, black sky, black cloud,
A wet highway,
Should we go on?
Or turn back?
We continued forward,
And a tornado cut a
Wide swath where we would have stayed.

By Luther Butler


Giant boiling in the summer sun,
Freezing under the winter's northern blast.
Shivering, broiling, growing upward, outward.
Oil dripping from your veins,
Cattle grazing on your plain.
Land of slaughter, land of pain and joy.
Land of contrast: of prairies, hills, pines, and coastal plain.
Riches, poverty. Pride and little shame.
A land in the making, land of excitement,
Tingling adventure, stories of rustlers, cattlemen, pirates,
Indians galloping across your dusty plain
On horses sired in the best of Spanish stables.
Ghosts of Spanish conquistadors still picking the hills
Looking for Cibola and other treasures.
Pirate ships putting into port along the lonely dunes
Hiding treasures gained from the mighty Spanish Main.
Rough homesteaders finding hope in its land.
Cotton as far as the eye can see, bursting white.
The moaning of slaves in the cold fall morning
Turning to chants of joy as the sun grows hotter.
Plantation owners living in white mansions
On grass-covered hills, men of vision
Trying to tame the giant land.
Wildcatters tapping the oil pools deep beneath the ground,
Laughing, shouting with joy as another one blows in.
German noblemen finding freedom from tyrants
Giving names with pleasing phrase.
Mexicans toiling the vegetable fields
Working in factories, riding after the cattle,
You have left your mark on a rich heritage.
Cities: Amarillo, Austin, Dallas, El Paso,
Fort Worth, Houston, Lubbock of the plains, San Antonio
Noble names. Standing clear against the skyline,
Clean, strong, good cities, proud of your names.
Churches, statesmen, school persons, soldiers
Trying to tame the giant of the west.
Bowie, Travis, Houston, Austin, Crockett,
Truett, Hogg, Johnson,
Men of vision, the roll call goes on and on.
Churches of all faiths trying to grow and tame the giant.
Can they do it?
The answer lies in the future.
Can regionalism rise above itself?
To reach out nationally and farther, even over the world?
Can factionism, racialism, and denominationalism work together
To unite a giant that can throw its shadow
Farther across the plain and sea?
Making its contributions in feeding and clothing mankind,
And more important, feeding the souls of men with its ideals and ideas.
Creating a reality of love for the worth of the individual.
Can we do it?

By Luther Butler


The leaves had an ecumenical meeting in my yard last night.
They came to gossip and to play; they stayed
I recognized the red maple from across the street.
There were delegates from the silver maple two doors up.
There were the fruitless mulberry leaves from across the street.
From next door, there were the oak leaves.
A few from my yard stayed, but most went visiting.
A few cottonwood and pecan leaves fell and remained where they belonged.
There were a few pine needles, and the magnolia shed a few.
But, most of the leaves were uninvited.
They should have stayed home,
Or better still, their owners should have raked them up
And bagged them as I had to do.

By Luther Butler


I wandered through the woods one day,
It was in early May,
I happened on a pasture full of waving bluebonnets
All were swaying in the breeze.
There were pink and yellow blossoms mixed with whites.
Nothing broke the silence but gaily singing birds.
Rabbits jumped and played,
Their white tails bobbing in the hay.
Where human footsteps once fell
The footsteps of God sounded now
As he created a world fashioned
After His own choosing.
I felt His presence
Among the dancing flowers in the month of May.
There is order in disorder.
A road little traveled.
Pastures full of weeds and bushes,
A house and barn neglected.
Trees untrimmed. Flowers everywhere.
Fish in the tank uncaught,
Birds in the meadows unshot,
Deer in the woods going to waste.
Some would say, "What a shame."
But, I would say,
"Beauty is of great value
Even though the hay has been replaced by flowers."
A homestead in the wilderness
Forgotten now with abandonment.
Windows without panes.
Hayloft without hay.
Once there were happy children's
Voices in the new mown pastures,
Kept in neatness from weeds and flowers
In what some person thought was perfect order.
Those who kept it are gone,
With no cattle and horses to beat out the grass and flowers.
You have beauty now.
Beauty that is different
Than when humans made your beauty.
There are flowers blooming
With honeybees buzzing flowers.
Weeds, they call them
Grace your pastures,
Patterned by the hand of God.
Even though no longer do the children's voices
Ring in happy choruses.
No longer do machines cut your hay.
There is no value in an abandoned homestead,
But, for some reason, I like you better
Than when you were making money instead of honey
For the bees


In the meadow
Among the hayfields,
Time has left its mark.
Where what some would say,
"Weeds. That's all that grows there now.
It wasn't that way when Old Bill
Was alive to keep them cut down,
That was the best-kept place
Nothing ever grew there
That Old Bill didn't want around.
You didn't see bluebonnets blooming
In that hayfield.
No, Sir, Billy Bob,
He had his whole family out knocking down those critters.
You didn't see the buildings without paint.
The barn was always filled with hay."
"It's that no count son of his
Off chasing around the world looking for petroleum.
A Geologist, they say with some oil people.
Last I heard of him it was Saudi Arabia.
Last year it was Alaska.
Before that, the North Sea.
Once he was offshore drilling near Galveston.
Next year he maybe on the moon.
Who knows? All I know, his daddy
Wouldn't like it.
Letting the fields
Grow up with weeds and flowers."
(Written while looking at a painting by Dalhart Windberg. The poetic sketches are an attempt to do with words what Windberg did with paint.)

By Luther Butler


My television set is broken,
No one can fix it.
On Sunday morning it has a split personality.
On Channel Eight, a preacher tells me God is love.
On Channel Twenty-six, a newscaster tells me,
I hope someone will fix my television set soon. I want both channels to tell me in great big letters

By Luther Butler


The crust of the earth spawns a creature
Full of lust, hideous in habit and appearance.
War is this monster's name,
Death is his calling card.
The sour ferment of the earth brings forth
Many evils: first it was the man,
And next out of man came woman.
Out of woman came death and destruction.
From out of the ripe womb spewed forth two men.
One was pure and simple; the other was a part of the Devil.
A lion and a lamb, both spawned in the same womb.
From their kind came all human creatures.


Guns belch and smoke, a widow cries over her lost one.
An orphan stands in the crimson flow and begs for food.
A soldier rapes a staked girl on the beach,
And feels her body grow cold under him.
In the distance an inferno of hell breaks loose,
Smoke towers and shoots upward
Followed by Hell's fires itself.
It its path reigns destruction and misery.
Men die and are called heroes by folks at home.
(It doesn't matter which side they fight on,
someone loves them, and calls them their own.)
Victims of circumstances, win or lose, does it matter?

By Luther Butler


Destiny makers.
Spectacular mountains against an empty sky.
Open plains,
Tattered pioneers,
They came in covered wagons.
Canvas flapping in the breeze.
Oxen struggling at their yokes.
Men with rifles,
Women with babes in their arms.
Screaming Indians intent on scalping.
Nothing ahead,
Nothing behind for miles and months and forever and ever.
The red headed woman in wagon two
Went crazy
Before the drovers circled their wagons.

By Luther Butler


There is an old oak tree in the pasture.
There's a big buzzard sitting in it.
That old buzzard keeps watching me.
I watch the buzzard;
The two of us watch each other.
The buzzard thinks he got me.
And some days he takes off
His big wings flop.
"Buzzard, you better go watch somewhere else.
There is still life in this body.
Buzzard, you can't pick my mind.
My mind is still working.
Go home, Buzzard, go find your wife and family.
Find you a dead rabbit.
Eat it and leave me alone."

By Luther Butler


We went rabbit hunting in the snow
With the beagle chasing rabbits in circles.
All we had to do was sit until
The rabbit came right back to where we were,
The beagle right behind it.
Cold January day
The beagle barking with the rabbit one step ahead.
It finally gets away.
It was going in the hole when its head was shot off and
Picked up to take home.
"Rabbit, you are no different than we are.
We think we are gettin' away, we have it made.
Running in a circle, the circle gets bigger and bigger.
We get hit with a shotgun. That is all."

By Luther Butler


In days of old when knights so bold rode forth in
shining armor to do service for God and King in
lands both far and near,
There once by chance did three of the noblest meet
on a cold winter night in the mountains of a small
kingdom long lost in antiquity.
The snow was falling softly and no lodging could
be found.

One knight bore the cross in red upon his shield,
another the picture of the blessed virgin fair; the
third, a fish, the symbol of the early Christian.
Their mounts were of the whitest to show their purity.
With pennants bravely waving in the cold they rode
forth in pursuit of knowledge.  
After riding on, by chance they did come upon the
humble hovel of a woodcutter who lived under the
lofty crags.

At the hailing of the knights, the woodcutter came
forth, though of the same age as the knights, his
body already began to show the burden of his toil.
Bidding them with good cheer he offered his meager
food and lodging for the night.

The knights, though wishing for better fare dismounted
quickly and after unsaddling came in from the cold.
The meal was plain but filling, the hut was cozy.
Soon by the cheer of the warm fire light the host and
guests soon fell into talk and soon thereafter into
a drowsy laughter.

Whether from the strenuous ride or from the ale that
had cheered their meal there suddenly appeared to
all four, a glorious vision of the Risen Saviour.
All fell down in worship awe and reverence filled their
hearts with adoration.

Bidding them to be not afraid the Master invited them
to be seated and then without commanding but in a
tone that forbade their misunderstanding He asked
for an accounting of their undertakings.

The knight, who bore the cross, told how he was
traveling far across land and sea to slay the infidels
who occupied the birthplace of the Holy Infant
whom the Christians reverenced.

Fully a hundred he had slashed with the sword until
losing it, he had ran almost as many through with
the spear.

Until his blood mingled in with those of the others
left to die in shouts and moaning.
Gaining his strength again he had ridden home to gain
more followers to wreak more vengeance on the heathen.

The knight, who proudly carried the image of the Virgin,
told with pride how that he defended the Holy Word.
When hearing of heretics he rode forth swiftly to
stamp out all vestige of rebellion.

Whole villages he had massacred for changing even one
word of the Holy Writ.
Just now he was returning from a mission to a nearby
village where he had flogged and burned heretics
as an example.

The knight who carried the fish, the lowly symbol of
persecuted men who centuries ago had been in hiding,
told how he fought against those who would not pay the taxes of the Church,
It was his duty to slay those who would not pay and
thus destroy the Church,
In battle dress he sought to press the battle against
those who sought to destroy the Church by not
supporting it and not helping to give gold and silver
to ornate it.

The knights having finished with their noble tales of
service that they did for Christ, would have noticed
if their vision were not so inward, tears running
down their Master's face.

Turning to the lowly woodcutter, the Christ did ask
what tasks of charity he did.
The woodcutter stammered, "Nothing Sire, Nothing. My
station in life is so base, my untrained mind has
conceived of nothing worthy."
The Master spoke with tones of understanding, "Did you
not yesterday carry food to the Widow? Were you
not the one whose tender hands nursed the sick child?

The night of the full moon, did you not rescue a
traveler from the clutches of robbers?
Did you not comfort and clothe the miller's family
after the fire that so devasted the mill?
Was it not you that visited the jail each evening to
bring comfort to the prisoners?

Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these,
my brother, you are truly the one who shall be
called the greatest in the Kingdom of God.

As for these Knights so brave, who are called by my
name and -work so diligently for me,
I never knew them, I have no part in them or they
in me. They work for vain glories and not for me."
Thus saying he departed seeking for other true servants.

By Luther Butler


We were in Comanches and Apache country east of El Paso
When we saw them coming out of the setting sun.
Big droves of shaggy animals followed one by one.
Food and clothing for the "People" was packed on their backs.
One behind the other
Hurrying to their Eastern homes,
The monsters came in packs.
Instead of these "modern buffaloes" wearing Hides covering meat for the savage Indians,
Their metal bodies were branded with:
Kroger, Hunt, Tyson Chicken, Montgomery Ward,
And the biggest beast of all had,

By Luther Butler

I found something good in the water
It was you.

By Luther Butler


The lake in December
Glistens in the mist.
It should be frozen,
But it is July in December this year.

By Luther Butler

We were together once, you and I
We shared each other, and in the sharing,
We found that we became one,
And in one, complete.
We were parted, and that which was complete became
Two again in a sense,
And in another sense that which was complete could never become two again,
Because that which has been brought together is complete,
And can never be parted.

By Luther Butler


The lake in December
Glistens in the mist.
It should be frozen,
But it is July in December this year.

By Luther Butler


Come back to the water again
It shall cleanse me since
From the water we began,
From the water we shall return.
The water washes the dust
We are washed by the water.
I found something in the water
That was good.
It was you.

By Luther Butler


Fishing in the rain
In the back of the pickup in the camper
Watching the rain.
Texas rains are unusual in December.
Warm almost like summer,
Lost a big one tonight, the fish got away.
Time between sundown and time to go to bed is lonely
No sign that there will be anyone with me.
This was not true a long time ago
The rain keeps coming down,
And It makes loud noises on top of the camper.
It is lonely
Looks like it is going to rain all night.
It's going to ruin the fishing trip
Never catch very much when it's raining
Just getting out is fun.
It's been a long time since I was out
Wondered if I would ever make it again.
December rain falling on the window pane,  
And on the camper top: plop, plop
December rain, I don't think it will ever stop.

By Luther Butler
(CAMPING IN THE RAIN was recorded while camping.)

The poems on this site were written by Luther Butler.
Feel free to use them in anyway you care. Please put the author's name in connection with each copy.

Luther Butler was born of southern parents in Alamosa, Colorado in 1929.
He holds degrees from Eastern New Mexico University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Tarleton State University.
He served in the US Navy and has ranched, worked in a mental hospital, in inner city slums, and was with the Texas Department of Agriculture for 23 years.
He is married to Jo Butler and has one son.
Novels by the author can be found at Luther Butlers Bookstore.
Here are my other sites. Come and visit me.
Good or bad, I want a bunch of E-mails
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This site is owned by: Luther Butler
(c) Copyright 2002