Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Lock (03/06/06)
TITLE: A Thousand Keys, but Only One
By Stephanie Bullard
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
That stretched beside a golden stream.
The air alive with rainbow hues,
No mortal soul could dream.
I did not know from whence I came,
Or whither I was meant to go,
But beckoned on by liquid gist,
I trailed the river’s flow.
I walked for hours or for days,
Mere seconds or perhaps a year,
The chains of time seemed not the same,
As those that bind earth’s sphere.
And as I walked, I heard a song,
That rhapsodized within my soul,
It whisked my thoughts into a daze,
All cares and worries, stole.
And then before my eyes appeared,
Up from the ground with gleaming spires,
With glistening turrets, glinting prongs,
Ablaze like liquid fire,
A city, like I’d never known,
Made from the purest jewels and gems,
As though the midnight skies were sheared,
And stars adorned its hem.
The streets, made from untainted gold,
Rolled smooth and glowed transparently.
They wound around where crystal shone:
An undulating sea.
I somehow knew that this was Home,
My heart throbbed with a sudden ache,
Such desperate need to join the Fold,
I thought that it should break.
I stretched my legs, began to run,
Bent on my wish to feel secure,
But rising from the misty loam:
A glossy barrier.
A lustrous gate, with bars of pearl,
Stood in my path with silent strength,
Reflecting light that paled the sun,
Its height matched by its length.
And on the pearly gate, a lock,
Made from a dark I’d never known,
It pulsed with hate, a blackened swirl,
Sent shivers to my bones.
How could a city so alive,
Allow a thing that seemed so dead?
Along my path, a stumbling block,
With ease hindered my tread.
I hesitated, then drew near,
I touched the lock and gave a shout,
Familiar pain sliced like a knife;
My sin’s what kept me out!
But then I saw about my feet,
A thousand keys were scattered round,
I picked one up, and gave a cheer,
Salvation had been found!
The key I held was silver-white,
“Good Deeds” was scripted on its shaft,
But when I tried it, knew defeat.
The black lock only laughed.
The key of “Righteousness” was there,
I shoved it in with desperate heave,
But twisting it with all my might,
Allowed me no reprieve.
“Self Import,” “Guilt,” “Ignorance,”
I tried each key there one by one,
Then fell with cries of deep despair,
My hope of life was gone.
I felt a presence, raised my head,
A Man stood, not far from my place,
Strength and kindness marked His stance,
A smile on His face.
Without a word, He stretched His hand,
And opened it so I could see,
A brilliant glint of gold; He said,
“Why don’t you try this key?”
“None of these worked,” I waved my hand,
Why this one?” Still I had to look.
“It, only, works. It’s as I planned,
It’s written in my Book.”
“What should I pay for such a prize?”
I asked, eyes firmly on the key.
“I ask for nothing,” said the Man,
“I give it willingly.”
“I must admit, I’m rather lost,”
Meanwhile, my outstretched hand drew near,
“A treasured gift without a price?”
I saw a crimson smear.
My eyes flew to His nail-scarred wrists,
As in my hand the key He laid,
“I never said there was no cost;
The price has just been paid.”
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