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  • Writer's pictureRichard Southworth

A Voice Calling In The Desert

Photo by Winnie Southworth

I wrote this prose poem, I'm guessing in about 1988, give or take a year or two. I would have been about forty-five, and that would have been about thirty-two years ago. It still speaks to me powerfully about where I am now on my journey.

Deep within my soul there is a voice that cries out to be heard.

Through the noise and the confusion of my life, it demands that I be silent and listen.

I am at the same time fascinated by that voice and deathly afraid of it.

I am afraid because each time I listen to it, it requires too much of me.

It asks that I love and grow in ever new ways.

It is never satisfied with less than all that I have to give.

That still small voice asks - no demands - that I give up my very life to its leading.

It seems that this voice knows nothing of the things so important in the modern world.

And yet it calls me to give my all to that world.

It calls me to contemplation on the meaning of life, and to writing verses like these.

It seems totally uninterested in wealth and fame and fortune.

And yet it seems to demand that every job be done with the zest and perfection of a master.

I fear that voice, and yet . . . and yet, I cannot silence it. I cannot ignore it.

It speaks and I must listen. I must obey.

That voice has led me through many trials and struggles and joys.

As I have followed it, it has led me to new vistas of growth and love and service.

When I look back I see only joy and satisfaction. The struggles seem insignificant.

And yet when that voice speaks I want to run. I want to run away and hide.

Hide from what? Can a man hide from his own soul? I think not!

At times this voice seems to ramble on like an old woman, speaking of first one subject and then another until I want to scream, "Shut up, please shut up!"

And when it does, when for a time that voice is totally silent - that silence is deafening.

When it is silent a terrible aloneness develops in me, and I scurry about in the deepest corners of my heart, searching like a starving child for that which only moments before I feared so deeply.

It is a paradox. I am starving for every word that comes from that still small voice within, and yet, more often than not, I refuse to listen to even the simplest words it speaks. It is the very voice of God, and I ignore it.

Oh, that it never grows tired of my defenses and goes forever silent. In that silence I would surely die.

But what a joy! It cannot! It must forever speak. It spoke and I was created! It must speak on until I am perfected.

And I must listen - I must! I will! I cannot do otherwise!

Read, Reflect, Enjoy!



© Copyright 2009, Richard N. Southworth. All Rights Reserved. Website:

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