When Mary Frye Was Dying

(In memoriam:  Mary Frye Hatcher, 1948-2003)

When Mary Frye was dying, friends at church knelt longer,
but she shied from broadcast, asked no pulpit declaration;
she had rather let word trickle through the pews.

Mary Frye sat wearied from her battle with a cancer
forging veins where working vessels should not go;
yet, she lifted hands like ferns at sun’s forced leaving.

And while she smiled and kissed us, we hugged her
cautiously, reluctantly preparing for our grieving.
Mary Frye played tunes to calm her friends for dying,

and she danced amid our wonder as we turned aside
from mourning and from trembling and from wailing.
Mary Frye delivered us our mirror of mortality.

Mary Frye died teaching.  God had used her as a glance
of victory in Christ.  Oh, Jesus, grant your mercy to we who
kneel with death and cower in our tears for Mary Frye.

Published in the June, 2003, edition of
“Voice,” a newsletter of St. Martin’s in the Field Episcopal Church,
Severna Park, Maryland,
where Mary Frye Hatcher was a parishioner.

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One of Their Kind (My Cowboys Have Always Been Singers)

By Allan Roy Andrews

My cowboys have always been singers,
totin’ guitars and not forty-fours,
and they’d never demand sarsaparilla
as they strode through those carved, swinging doors.
They’d more likely ride on the airwaves
than on stallions with saddles that shine,
and they seem to talk more about women
than cactus or sagebrush and pine.

They sing about ramblin’, gamblin’ and sin,
and moan about troubles in mind,
but whenever I’m caught in their long-playing spin,
I know that I’m one of their kind.

I don’t wear a Stetson or spurs on my boots,
and I don’t favor riding a horse,
but give me a girl in a honky-tonk bar,
and I’ll sing her a sad song, of course.
If I seem an urbane contradiction,
mixing cowboys and hot city streets,
just remember, Roy Rogers and Trigger
came to life in old theater seats.

They sing about drinkin’, thinkin’ and sin,
and moan about troubles in mind,
and whenever I’m caught in their long-playing spin,
I know that I’m one of their kind.

I’ve never been west of New Jersey.
I can’t rope and never roll smokes.
I’m known to sip vodka and whiskey
and in turn relate off-color jokes.
But when I’m alone in my pondering,
two friends seem to always belong:
One is my champion, Jesus,
and the other’s a cowboy in song.

They sing about playin’, prayin’ and sin,
and moan about troubles in mind.
But whenever I’m caught in their long-playing spin,
I know that I’m one of their kind.

*This song was posted to
The American Reporter [http://www.american-reporter.com]
as a tribute to Roy Rogers and singing cowboys
on the occasion of Rogers’ death in July, 1998.

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By Allan Roy Andrews

Four laws of ecology:
1) Everything is connected to everything else.
2) Everything must go somewhere.
3) Nature knows best.
4) There is no such thing as a free lunch.

–Barry Commoner The Closing Circle.

Eradicated molecules obey
the laws of nature’s faith
and go somewhere,
affecting something else,
living their amnesiac lives
disguised as foods or poisons–
reincarnated polymorphously;
eternal matter.

Someone or something pays
for every advance or growth;
for every giant mankind step,
mankind is expended.
Germs hosted by man
are devoured by sewer worms
who lose, obeying rules
of icthyology.
Fish, in turn, on mankind’s plate
are a truly unfree lunch.

There is no death;
there is no end to Hell.
Eradicated molecules obey
and go somewhere.
Someone pays for every death;
a price is recorded
for every redemption.
There is no inexpensive grace,
only a resurrection–
for which One has paid.

*Originally published in The Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, March 1977, Vol. 29, No. 1, page 45.

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New Quadrivium

By Allan Roy Andrews

Science begins in brain;
Philosophy begins in mind;
Poetry begins in ear and mouth;
Religion begins in breath.

For science to say anything about life, it must experiment;
for philosophy to say anything about life, it must exhaust words;
for poetry to say anything about life, it must listen;
for religion to say anything about life, it must fall on its face.

Where science ends, philosophy begins;
where philosophy ends, poetry begins;
where poetry ends, death begins;
where death ends, religion begins.

*Originally appeared in
Voice, a newsletter of St. Martin’s-in-the-Field Episcopal Church,
Severna Park, Md., February 2002.

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Theology’s laboratory gathers dust,
its data, scientists say, contaminated,
its ethereal results suspicious.
Yet, it probes compounds where bodies
fall to their knees.

I’ll donate my organs to theology,
request an autopsy on my soul.
Medicine has sliced me, and psychology
undressed why I sneeze, scratch
and masturbate.

Could theology use my cadaver?
Incarnate precedent affirms
history’s dissecting martyrs who followed
God’s lead of donating his body
for our understanding.

My body hides no sacred catacomb.
Grown secular and Mosaic with years,
having bypassed flagellation
to holiness, it may find healing
in hermeneutics.

–Originally published online by Theology Today, volume 63, number 1

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Coaching Young Leapers

By Allan Roy Andrews

Young females dig, bump, set, spike,
Learning a child’s game,
Yearning to leap to womanly skills.

I enmesh their aerial pursuit,
Forge their passionate leaps
At a white sphere above a net;

I deny too-early competition,
Require they control selfish steps,
Demand shared and arduous hustling.

But they leap too quickly
To ardor without instruction;
They grow fat with child

And hustle into motherhood,
Wearing their talent below their breasts
With the roundness of a volleyball.

They serve in carpeted courts
Without coaching, without scoreboards
Or applause, longing to leap once more.

*Originally published in Aethlon:  The Journal of Sport Literature,
Vol. X, No. 2, Spring, 1993, page 76

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