My Unearthing

To forgive my sin, God died in my place.
High in the heavens He sits on His throne.
My Savior, Jesus, rose to give me grace.
Before I believed, Death laughed in my face,
knowing how Hades would burn every bone;
to forgive my sin, God died in my place,
for all the worldly pleasures I used to chase:
the drugs, the dollars, the false religions I was shown.
My Savior, Jesus, rose to give me grace!
When I started seeing through blindness, I quit the race
for the drugs, the dollars, the false religions I was shown.
To forgive my sin, God died in my place.
He loves us all. We’re each His special case.
Until I found out, my heart was like stone:
my Savior, Jesus, rose to give me grace.
The Potter’s pierced hands healed this sightless vase;
my salvation now rests on Christ alone:
to forgive my sin, God died in my place;
my Savior, Jesus, rose to give me grace.

On December 12, 1982, I placed my hope for eternal salvation in the nail-pierced hands of Jesus. On that day, I came to terms with the fact that I was a sinner, for “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” And since “the wages of sin is death,” I knew there’d be Hell to pay after I died. On that day, I also learned that “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” That’s when I threw in with Jesus, who was God in the flesh, who loved me enough to die on the cross to forgive my sins, and whose Father then raised Him from the dead. That’s the Gospel, and that’s what saves us from Hell if we repent and believe it. I share my testimony with you today to let you know somebody cares and that there’s hope beyond the grave: “…whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved.” -Matt Harris


A Little Bit about “Four Score Years Ago”

Happy New Year everyone! I hope your holidays were a blessing to you this year. Mine were a little rough this year because they were the first ones I experienced without my dad who passed away last May. “Four Score Years Ago,” however, is a sonnet I wrote six years ago to commemorate my mother’s 80th birthday, which was on January 8, 2017. A “score,” by the way, is an archaic word which simply mean 20 years. A few months after her birthday that year, the poem was also published in a literary journal at the University of Baltimore called Skelter. Four years ago, Mom went home to be with Jesus. I miss you and dad both today—but take solace in knowing that you are celebrating together in heaven with the Lord!


A Little Bit about “Fall Risk”

As a blind poet, the things I look at every day look pretty much the same to me. But fortunately, since I did not go completely blind until later in life, I can still conjure up visual images from my memory from the things I once saw to use in my poems. But I must admit that I do indeed miss seeing that everyday poetry that exists right under our noses as we go about our daily business. For example, the title for my poem “Fall Risk” came to me immediately after my wife, Amanda, described the bracelet to me that the nursing staff at the hospital had attached to my father’s wrist, which I later describe in the poem, “where the letters in the phrase Fall Risk blaze black / against the amber face of your bracelet” (lines 12-13). At sunset that same evening, which also was the winter solstice, Amanda and I went on a walk together. During our walk, she described one of the most beautiful skies that I had ever heard, which I turned into these lines from “Fall Risk”: “Just beyond solstice’s greedy, falling shadows, / strips of yellow ribbon still wrap the sloping sky, / surrounding twilight with cotton candy clouds” (19-21). Not all imagery, however, no matter how intriguing, will work in our poems. For me, the imagery must connect with the content or themes or contribute to the movement of the piece. For instance, during our walk that night, Amanda also pointed out a pizza that someone had dropped next to our neighborhood dumpster. Initially, as a result, these lines found their way into my poem: “Its sauce like blood splattered on December asphalt.” Even though I loved that image and wanted to expand on it, after my final edit, I deleted the line. It just did not work. I would not be surprised, however, if it did not crop up in a future poem. On the other hand, I was able to use the cotton candy clouds to transition into a childhood memory about my father: “Remember cotton candy, dad? Remember? / At the circus? How I picked at its beehived hairdo” (lines 22-23)? Sadly, dad passed away on May 20, 2022, just six months after I was first inspire to write “Fall Risk.” We miss you, dad. But I know that you are with Amanda and me as we go on another winter solstice walk tonight.