Walkin on Air
Walking this worldly wilderness
filled with pain and distress,
in a Den I laid me down to sleep
praying God my soul to keep.
A dream I dreamt so strange, so vivid
about a Pilgrim livid
his book in hand, the pages quite torn:
afraid he looked and forlorn.
Wretched he was the burdened bookworm,
“What shall I do to be saved?”
cried he, reading the book true to form.
My dream-path became paved.
“Children, sweet children, good wife, my dear
have ye naught patience to hear
the troubles deep my dream imparted?
You pity, you scold cold-hearted.”
Many a day the fields would he walk;
Evangelist then appeared.
“Flee!” said he, “Flee Destruction, don't talk;
‘tis time; for burning has neared!
To the City of Zion make haste,
Christian, my lad, time don't waste!
Perilous the way, from your home run;
heed not the ruckus begun!
Comfort an' friends those all leave behind,
Obstinate's nonsense, hear not!
Pliable sounds sweet to fearful mind,
yet returns back home whatnot.
Slough of Despond is muddy defeat
weak souls from there will retreat;
Help leads you back to faith's solid ground:
no turning back homeward bound.”
Afar off Worldly Wiseman spied he:
guide of illusion's domain,
boss of the town Carnal Policy
wherein lays imagined gain.
“How shall I of my burden be rid,
from off my back lift what's hid,
vested in village Morality
from eyes of Legality?”
“Ah!” Wiseman said, “Civility ask,
a faithful son he be;
this work is not a difficult task,
they'll ease your burden, you'll see.”
But the hill was high, would bury him
whither he'd gone on this whim;
when Evangelist again came forth
whose encouragement had worth.
“Go back; seek the Gate you sought before
departing the narrow way!”
This Christian did hoping more an' more
it'd begin a brand new day.
‘Knock and it shall be opened for you'
The Gate signboard stated true.
So knocked he did on the wooden frame:
Sir Good-will to answer came.
Christian his story of risks then told
how he sought liberation
from the burdens that held him in hold,
kept him from God's salvation.
Good-will thus spoke with soft forbearance,
“The place of Deliverance
soon you'll reach, whence Christ drank bitter gall,
off of itself there will fall
your burden; so be therefore content
yet to bear it a short space.”
I dreamt Death would finally relent
in the cross and tomb road-race.
At the road end his burden off fell
into the sepulchre of Hell
where it was not seen any longer,
Christian in joy felt stronger.
On his way Difficulty Hill lay,
from his climb rested he there:
read the word at the arbor that day,
slumbered in sweet something where
hastily when he awoke he went
to the top of the ascent,
on Mistrust and Timorous chancing:
their lies said ‘stop advancing'.
“Lions in the way eat you they will;
go back to fire ‘n brimstone!”
“God's word I have like money in till;
but wait, my book it is gone!”
To the arbour he returned, maybe
his book he'd find: what did he see
when he lifted his eyes? A palace
Beautiful without malice.
Discretion, Prudence, and Piety
three lovely damsels here dwelt
along with the Lady Charity:
Christian most welcome there felt.
Peaceful now, ancient treasures he saw,
Bible history beheld in awe:
Countries of Delectable Mountains,
Emmanuel's Lovelight fountains.
“Once you reach the New Jerusalem
Celestial City Gate,
you saints may see and who rescued them
fulfil their most holy fate.”
Thus spoke to Christian the damsels fair
erasing all his despair;
the Valley of Humiliation
to be next destination.
A devil known as Apollyon
met him upon arrival
in death claimed his soul as Abaddon:
what would be Christian's survival?
Allegiance sworn to the King of Kings
citizenship to Zion brings:
a battle fierce Pilgrim had to face
salvation for our human race!
The Castle Beautiful Armory,
our hearts' innermost desire,
weapons of praise provide eternally
to defeat Satan's ire!
Leaves from the Tree of Life all wounds heal,
every battle being real,
saints prepare for battle yet again
against sin in the lives of men.
The Valley of the Shadow of Death
where all the blind lead the blind
into the Ditch of Last Breath,
a solid foundation none will find.
Now time and space will ne'er suffice
how in the view of holy eyes
the mouth of Hell truly seems
as I saw it in my nightly dreams.
Yet surely strength of the Lord our God
is what makes Evil to yield:
Faithful testified Christ's shepherd rod
empowered his sword and shield!
When to inform of Wanton Madame
perverse daughter of Adam?
Lust of Flesh, of Eyes, and Pride of Life
unworthy as sacred wife?
Arrogance, Pride, and worldly-glory
espoused to that fellow Shame,
accentuates my horror story,
employs a most foul name.
Vanity Fair, yes imagined gain,
lovers of inflicting pain:
Envy, Superstition, and Pickthank,
experts from Satan's think-tank,
Martyrs murder in gleeful delight,
ignoring facts of God's wrath;
love and good they always put to flight
forgetting the aftermath;
imagining that Doubt and Despair
will make of saints prisoner
subject to the Harlot Diffidence
full of blasphemic insolence.
Conquering pride, defeating conceit
Pilgrim with the Shepherds lodged
near the Golden City God to entreat,
having passed and evil dodged.
“Two difficulties more you must meet,”
the shining ones to him said,
“inside the City will tread your feet
after the price has been paid.”
The River of Death had to be crossed,
fear and darkness must be tossed:
God's word is what gave them victory,
promises of what would be.
Led by Lovelight with ease drew they neigh
to God's promised Paradise,
Heavenly Hosts from Heaven on high
honoured them as truly wise.
Raiment of Gold, harps and crowns greeted
two Pilgrims undefeated,
“Into the joy of Jesus enter
who with God dwells at its centre.”
Holy saints ambled about inside,
joyous and peaceful it seemed:
I saw it and wished I could abide
myself among the Redeemed.
And so it was the children and wife
repented, sought a new life;
when the King's letter was delivered
they with excitement shivered.
Yet only Christiana the wife
to the City gate made way
none else crossed over that day
she alone had ceased from strife.