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The Specter of Fear

I have known fear, perhaps not as some have known it but many know fear one way or another, at one time or another, to such an extent that it cripples, paralyzes the soul. We think we have security in this world until one day we are rudely awakened from our pipe-dream. Security in this world is but an illusion. When our disillusionment comes, its comrade-in-arms is often fear. But that disillusionment needn’t be our enemy. In truth, it can be a friend in disguise.

Nor do we need to fear as though there is no such thing as true and sure security, for then we would be prey to a lie, to our own destruction. There IS a sure security for those who will avail themselves of it.

My fear rides me like a stern rider

Rides his horse.

Unless I run his pace,

His spurs dig deep my sides.

I think blood flows at times…I’m sure of it.

I scarcely dare to think, to pause

For fear I have a rider

Who will not show me mercy

Who will not grant me pardon

Who will not make a move

To relent, to ease my pain.

“Run!” he says. I run.

“Faster!” says he. I go faster.

“Faster isn’t good enough! You’ve had it!”

I think that if I drop,

I have sweet release.

He whips me as I fall.

Fear is not afraid to beat a dead horse.

He seems to relish it, delight in it.

The compassion of fear is tyranny,

His patience only scorn.

He takes the meat and feeds it to minks,

And then I think, “Aha!

There is rest in the mouths of minks,

Fear has no torment there!”

Until I find that my rider

Is possessor of minks as well.

He rides the minks

And feeds them me.

Fear holds all in Hell,

And when he skins the little ones

And sells their hides for gain,

Scarcely do the buyers know

They’re clothed with fear and pain.

Lethbridge, August, 1984

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