Men’s Hearts Shall Fail Them: A Poem


The poem is kind of dreary so let’s watch a more cheerful video from the President of the Quorum of Apostles of the LDS Church. He is a prominent heart surgeon. Elder Russell M. Nelson shares a personal story to give encouragement for when we feel “weak in the heart.”

Men’s Hearts Shall Fail Them

Ring-necked Duck painting by author.

Ring-necked Duck painting by author.

John Taylor Jones
May 25, 2016

Desperation comes in many ways,
Death lies in wait all our days.

Why, it was only the other day
When death came our way—
The winds whirling, swirling out of the West,
Twisting, lifting, ripping, tearing,
Rending, splintering, shattering, ear splitting—
Sending brick and timbers into the air—
Sending men and beast a flying—
Separating the living from the dead.

Sometimes a lion—

My Painting of a Mute Swan

My Painting of a Mute Swan

Sometimes a snake—
But always near
Death lies in wait—
It strikes!
It pounces!
It bites deep and crushes.
It send you back from whence you came;
Down into the deep Earth—
It laughs while loved ones mourn—
It sneers at the cost of your death—
Death has a treacherous heart.

Korea 1951. I was a forward observer in the 17th Infantry at the time.

Korea 1951. I was a forward observer in the 17th Infantry at the time.

In Korea in 1951,
I walked across the vacant fields—
Stubble was the only sign of life.
I walked into the vacant home
Where once an extended Korean family
Cooked and ate and played with their kids.
In the inner court yard,
I could hear the children laughing—
I could see the young man hugging his bride.
I could see the old man with his black top hat,
Looking like Abraham Lincoln,
Smoking his pipe and laughing
At the antics of his grandchildren.
I knew what happened to such families—
The men were killed
Or captured and sent off to the north.
Some were able to flee to the South.
The family was together no more.
I could feel the cold breath of death.

Thousands had died in that valley,
Americans, Turks, British, French,
Algerians, Chinese.
Some of their remains were there.
Some of their equipment was there.
They were not there—
Some were shredded by machine-gun fire
As they tried to flee—
Chinese trying to escape death
From the air
As they tried to flee to the North.
And a brave machine gun sergeant
From our company
Had paid dearly on the hill to the west
Of which I care not to think.
War is always with us
Somewhere on this planet—
And we still have the audacity
To think about moving through space
To other worlds.
We would not be welcome,
Killers from Planet Earth.

There is more coming!
This planet will shed its outer skin
In the heat of an expanding sun.
That will be nothing new to us—
The earth has been through six (6) extinctions.

The One who said that in the last days
That men’s hearts would fail them,
Said, “These things I have spoken unto you,
that in me ye might have peace.
In the world ye shall have tribulation:
but be of good cheer;
I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

That is our hope and prayer!


John T. Jones, Ph.D.

John T. Jones, Ph.D.

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