My Faith

by Nolo Segundo

My faith is different from most,
Whose faith is believing God exists.
I know He is real—I have known
Since I almost died by my own hands,
As I have known that hell is real, and
Far more terrible than any imagined.

I have seen its utter blackness while 
My soul—which I had denied like 
I had God Himself—was drenched 
In torment, that pain beyond pain
Perhaps I had been there before,
For my soul called out, in words 
or thought I cannot say—
“How long will it last?”

And then God released my soul
From hell, returned it to my 
Near drowned body lying on 
The bank of a Vermont river,
Pulled from its spring-gorged 
Torrents by a fearless soldier.

So my faith is different, for
Unlike intellectuals wont
To scorn the possibility of 
A Being immeasurably 
More intelligent than 
Their triple-digit IQs, 
A knowing on a scale
Unfathomable to those
Capable of only one
Thought at a time and 
Unable to occupy more
Than a solitary space.

And my faith differs from 
Those sure of God’s love,
Certain they are among 
The chosen and Heaven’s
Gate will swing wide open
For their kind of believer
While shutting tight for 
Those of a different ilk.
A Catholic heaven, or 

Hindu heaven, or
A Muslim paradise?
Perhaps the Buddha’s
Nirvana, or the Tao
Promised Land?
Unlike those faiths,
I cannot exclude, 
For I have felt 
God’s power both
In terror and love, 
And so must feel,
Must believe all
Who long for 
Heaven’s love
Will one day 

Nolo Segundo, pen name of L.J.Carber, in his 70s, became a published poet in over 80 literary journals/anthologies in 7 countries (such as Heart of Flesh, Ekstasis, Time of Singing) and 2 trade book collections: The Enormity of Existence [2020] and Of Ether and Earth [2021]. The titles, like much of his work, reflect the awareness he’s had since having an NDE whilst almost drowning in a Vermont river: that he has—is—a consciousness that predates birth and survives death, what poets and other people once called the soul. Nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2022 by Spirit Fire Review, he’s retired from teaching English/ESL in America, Japan, Taiwan and Cambodia (leaving there before the time of the Killing Fields), who has been married 42 years to a smart and beautiful Taiwanese woman.

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