A Poem

Finding Pasture

I stand at the cemetry feeling out of place.

The life of a man, a good man has come to an end.

Downcast eyes, hurried greetings, hugs.

A piper leads us towards the hall.

Catholics buried here says the rusty sign.

Lutherans buried here says another sign.

Greek Orthodox here, the list goes on.

I notice but I don’t respond, the life of a good man who was neither has come to an end.


Where will they bury him?


Outside, in the field, among the sheep, now alone, stands a cross.

Looking through stained glass windows I hear the tones of a well worn hymn. 

Everyone is in there I want to get in.

This is my church, the place I belong, Jesus you are the way! Please let me in.

I stand at the door and read the words etched in stone:

I am the gate.

Jesus you are the gate – Please let me in!


For a long time I stand and look at the splinters and the cracks in the old wooden door. 

It opens for some but it wont let me in.

Late in the day I turn to go home.

I remember the cross and the words etched in stone.


Jesus you are the gate.


A smile on my lips and excitement in my heart.

The gate isn’t to go in, the gate is to go out.


The cross in the field surrounded by sheep.


This poem was inspired by the song “Philosophy of Loss” by the Indigo Girls. You might recognize my starting point from these lyrics:

Modern scribes write in Jesus Christ
Everyone is free
And the doors open wide to all straight men & women
But they will not not open to me


  1. Thanks for this tapman. The gate isnt to go in. The gate is to go OUT!

    I am reminded of a someone somewhere who said…*I stand at the door and knock*… if he is knocking… I guess that means he is outside… and I guess that is where we might find him.

  2. You quote those Indigo Girls lyrics rather uncritically, Tapman? The lyrics suggest that the only reason for discrimination on who is welcome through the doors, is whether a person is straight or not! Does such a policy of discrimination exist anywhere? Certainly there are churches that are not welcoming of practising homosexuals, but do such churches welcome “all straight men & women”? Ive not heard of a church with a single-issue discrimination policy.

    1. Absolutely, I cried when I first heard the song. As far as the song lyrics go I am not making any theological statement, just hearing the hurt. The poem however was a gift and speaks volumes about where I am – have another read, we’ll worth it.

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