This poem was inspired by a trip to Carlsbad Caverns. In my mind it plays out like a Pixar Short or a children’s book in the Dr. Seuss style, but since I lack both the technical and artistic skill for those types of projects :-), right now I need to rely on a more powerful resource… your imagination. While it may have some educational value for helping kids remember the difference between stalagmites and stalactites, my bigger hope is that it could serve as a tool to chip away at the contest that the powers of darkness love to keep us trapped in – the “us vs. them” endgame scenarios that lead mostly to despair and destruction. May this open our hearts and imaginations to Jesus’s Kingdom of God future.  Here goes…

Once upon a time, buried deep down in the earth
was a place sadly absent of joy, hope, and mirth.
It wasn’t the darkness, the dampness, or the mold,
not the stillness, the silence, nor even the cold.
There deep in the cave lived tension so thick,
anxiety and fear accumulating with each loud, echoing drip.

You see, long before anyone could remember, those two tribes had been at war.
One camped on the ceiling, while the other defended the floor.
Looking down from above, looking down their long noses – The Stalactites.
And way down below, crouched their mounting foes – The Stalagmites.

Who knows how it started? Their eternal conflict.
One thing was for certain, though, it would not… end… quick!

“They’re sending down bombs! Dropping water on our heads!”
“No, you’re stealing our water! Leaving us nothing but shreds!”

Stalactites, stalagmites, full of venom and spite,
in a quest to be right, further filled them with fright!
Charging toward one another, determined to win,
It seemed rocky violence was how this would end.

These two groups, bent on conquest, acting so “brave,”
Would likely bring an end to their shared home, the cave…

But, then… out of nowhere, a new song arose,
a love song – growing slowly, as the two sides almost froze.
A stalactite, looking down into the eyes of its mate,
saw beauty, and grace in the stalagmite, embracing its fate.

And as they joined hands, a column was formed,
uniting the cave, a new future was born.

So, consider carefully the cave we find ourselves in,
it’s not perfect, but it’s home to all creation’s kin.
The secret, you see, is not making sure that “we” win,
but approaching our opposites not as enemies, but friends.—

Alan Howell