On Frailty


We are gentle.
Breathed into life,
Yet given to war;
Withering mystery
Of a veiled brilliance.

Death showers us into the cover
Of suffering; There, chained;
Held to the wall
In the shackles of hope,
Panting as we do for
Future skies.

“Careful you, thus passes the glory of the world,” the servant reminds.


In future skies
There I walk, not strong enough
To pant,
Not weak enough
To gasp.

I sing of joys,
With voice breathing through
“Let thy kingdom, let thy kingdom.”

Come, question not, only wait,
Suffering advances, only sing.


Beauty draws nigh
To hold
Yet not enough
To climb
Into future skies

Sic transit gloria mundi.
Ah, the servant.

Beauty subsides
Into ash
Only to find
The dark soil of the Corn King.
Dive deep down
Only to rise, only to fade, only to rise
Only to fade.
Sic transit gloria mundi;
The bottleneck of beauty.


We are gentle.
Breathed into the riddle of the blasphemous
Daily muck,
Not the riddle asked for.
Not the beauty envisioned.

Gone the glory
In all that we see;
But the brilliance
There resides not.

For the deepest of beauty,
Of time and war,
We climb the future clouds
Ascending death to soar


Timothy Willard is the author of five books, including Longing For More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life and the forthcoming The Life-Giving Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019). He has collaborated on over 20 books and has written, consulted and served as spiritual director for organizations such as Chick-fil-A, Catalyst, Q Ideas and Praxis Labs. When he’s not riding the trails in the Appalachian mountains you can find him by the fire with his three daughters and his wife making up stories about Tom the back yard badger. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.