An Inkling of Hell

An inkling of hell — the end of life —
Must fill a man with fear and terror:
Bereft of God and racked by pain,
The torment of mind in total recall.

What gnashing of teeth, what needy cries,
What darkness of terror and dank decay!
Let none to its gates come near, despairing —
All hope is crushed and happiness dead.

How to impede the human flood
That rushes toward the ruin of demons?
What warning to give to wave away
The masses that mock the thought of hell?

God’s Word can turn a wayward soul,
The Sacred Letters on Sunday read,
The Bible bound in mercy’s bosom,
God’s power of love for repentance’ chance.

Not Moses’ mount, nor prophetic men,
Not Aaron’s altar, nor covenant ark,
Not Samuel’s horn, nor Samson’s might
Can deflect the sinner from flames eternal.

The cruel cross of Jesus Christ
Alone by love can save from loss
Of soul, of sounds of mirth, of sense
Of worth, of heaven’s wealth and wonder.

So hear his words — from Hades flee! —
And ponder truths from the page of God;
Let suffering cease with the breath of saints,
To Abram’s side by angels lifted.

JRMatheny