Dam Feelings

The story begins with a boy at the dyke,
holding back tears with all his might.

For feelings for many are hard to express,
we are taught that control is the way to be blessed.

So tears, joy and happiness are never displayed
be strong, don’t cry, perform is the way.

But living in neutral these long lonely years
has taught me the folly of the feelings I fear.

For life without feeling is like food without taste
you chew and you swallow but in the end it’s just waste.

It’s safe at the dyke with your finger in place
but creativity, risk-taking, life get erased.

So pull out the finger before its too late
for a life without feeling leads one to just hate

and flee from the dyke while you still can,
trading feelings for security leaves you stuck in the dam.

Mason Swinney
Please, all rights reserved. Contact me for use of any portion of it.


What does it mean?
No rules, no laws,
Come and go as you please?

You do life your way
I’ll do it mine.

But is this Independence
Or bondage of it’s own
Making all the decisions
Is it right or wrong?

We don’t have all the answers
Though we act like we do
And Satan keeps lying
Do what’s best for you.

Man talks of his freedom
But is he really free
Consequences follow choices
That are paid by you and me.

If independence means no boundaries
Then there’s no good or bad;
But are God’s rules a burden
Are a tool for man to have?

When a car’s traveling down the highway
That’s when it’s most free,
For when it leaves the roadway
It wrecks and becomes debris.

Adam and Eve found out the hard way
That independence isn’t free
Trading walking with Jesus
For shame is true stupidity.

But if we come to our senses,
Admit we haven’t a clue,
The only choice that matters
Is the one you let God choose.

Independence is not important
It’s what you’re independent of,
And dependence on the Savior
Is true freedom wrapped in love!

Mason Swinney
Please, all rights reserved. Contact me for use of any portion of it.

The Imposter

What is this dream
we’ve been chasing for years,
which seems so allusive
but was always so near.

If we move from our past
we’ll prove ’em all wrong,
we’re not mediocre
they’ll be sorry we’re gone.

But who are these people
we’ve been trying to impress
and look so important
and prove we’re the best.

We’re hungry for accolades
and the promotions that follow
but after accomplished
leave us nothing but hollow.

Always in a hurry
to get the next thing
forgetting the contentment we crave
things simply can’t bring.

Perhaps a leadership position
will bring the respect we’ve been craving
but you’re really not special
unless their rules your obeying.

Disappointment always follows
regardless the task
until finally our sense of failure
causes us to ask:

Why is life so important
but so difficult to live
and relationships so central
but people unable to give;

Why does evil flourish
without any help at all
but those on the narrow road
seem quickly to fall;

Why is walking by faith
better than walking by sight
since God created the senses
we use to see and to bite;

Why is love so important
yet so rarely seen,
perhaps we don’t comprehend
what love really means?

But the answers are with a God
none of us see
in a Book that so many of us
don’t ever read.

So the problem most face
is between their two ears,
determined to live their way
though failing for years.

And the door to the peace
we’re scrambling to achieve
is a free gift from the Father
once we relinquish the keys.

Mason Swinney
Please, all rights reserved. Contact me for use of any portion of it.

The Journey

Life has a way of knocking you flat
with its share of contradictions,
like Elijah staring down pure evil
then running scared from Jezebel.

But as anguish sets its stubborn teeth
and despair’s your closest friend
hope snuggles up beside ya’
as friends and family help you mend.

We are strengthened for life’s journey
through the hands that God’s prepared
to walk along beside us through all of life’s despair
and point us towards the Savior, the One who really cares.

And though lifes road is dangerous
with different obstacles every day
just know that on our road to Emmaus
Jesus has been there all the way.

Mason Swinney
Please, all rights reserved. Contact me for use of any portion of it.

Van Gogh

A pastor’s assistant,
Helping the poor
Art dealer and artist
There has to be more.

Off to seminary
Like Grandpa and Dad
But Greek and Hebrew
Were to hard for the lad.

Living with miners
They liked him a lot,
Tried being Jesus to ’em
Getting canned’s what he got.

Crushed by religion
Church buildings, no lights
God’s looking from heaven
On those long starry nights.

Vincent learned a hard lesson,
Be like Christ you’re adored;
But live as Christ lived
And it’s you they abhor.

God spoke to him in nature,
He spoke to God with paint
Broad strokes his exclamation,
His night time spent with saints.

His passion for God’s comments,
Olive groves and fields of wheat,
Cypress trees and irises
God’s creation made complete.

Sunflowers by the dozens,
The weavers and the loom;
His friends potato eaters,
prostitutes and gloom and gloom.

His heart so often broken,
Uncle Stricker got in the way,
Betrayals hard to handle,
He won’t let sweet Kee stay.

But Theo believed in him
when few others did
And helped to support him,
And put his art out to bid.

People can make us
Or break us into
Each put in our paths
By the God that we choose.

Vincent saw brief glimpses
Of real life along the way;
And knew the choice was keep it
Or give it away.

Thankfully he chose to share it
From the platform he had,
His pallet was his mouth piece
And for that we’re truly glad.

His genius left his pallet,
His depression stayed behind;
His art got all the brighter
His sanity marking time.

His genius made us better
His art his legacy
As we ponder and we marvel
At the world that he did see.

But genius and wisdom
Or not the same thing,
Mistaking one for the other
Much heart ache it brings.

Vincent cut off his ear,
When they wouldn’t listen;
He took his own life
When they didn’t care.

Was it insanity or suicide that
Caused him to end his gifted life
His pain we can’t imagine,
only God knows his mind.

Suicides seldom heroic
Not a real choice;
It’s a no win decision
Leaving hope without a voice.

He left us his treasure
It’s time finally arrived
Depression now past him
His genius would survive.

Perhaps the lesson learned
And seen throughout his art,
Is life may have failed him
But God was always there.

And God’s in the simple,
The day to day things
Like butterflies and sorrow
And life’s colors they bring.

And when staring up at heaven
Seeing the stars shining bright,
Be sure to think of Vincent
And his bright, starry night.

Mason Swinney
Please, all rights reserved. Contact me for use of any portion of it.

Three Years

One day you’re with us,
The next day you’re not.

What happened, what changed,
What caused you to doubt.

I’m sorry we failed you
We did what we could.

I know we’ll see you someday
But someday’s a long way off;

And now’s where the pain lives
and only you can salve that.

Waiting to again see you
Is like longing the sun to rise,

It bursts on the scene
With such beauty and style.

Each sunrise so different
But remarkably the same,

As though God made it daily
With a new face every day.

Still trusting’s not easy,
Acceptance harder still,

But we know God is sovereign
And we submit to His Will.

Today we stop to remember
All the good times we had

And thank God Shaun’s still grinning,
It’s only us that are sad.

We miss you Shaun!

Mason Swinney
Please, all rights reserved. Contact me for use of any portion of it.


Think of the absolute best day you ever have had
It’s a foretaste of heaven where sad becomes glad.

No badness, no illness, just unspeakable joy
Like a child at Christmas with all of his toys.

The one constant in heaven is God’s energizing, pulsating love,
That generates, consummates and sustains all that’s above.

It’s the beauty of the mountains, the thrill of the beach
And what makes it so wonderful is your Lord’s within reach.

It’s as marvelous as sunsets and stars twinkling at night
and flowers in the garden with their colors so bright.

Every minute like the moment when the two become one
exhilaration and ecstasy that can’t be outdone.

Every person as close as two peas in a pod
wrapped in the arms of your Savior and God.

No longer struggling to Emmaus, now walking streets of gold
where youth is eternal and you can believe what you’re told.

Disease, self-absorption, now things of the past,
replaced by a peace and joy that forever will last.

The mansions Jesus’ preparing we can’t comprehend
and to think our joy is forever and won’t ever end.

Each job will be something we can’t wait to do
but the work won’t be labor and no projects overdue.

On earth faith, hope and love were the three wise men
but two fade away by the love we at last comprehend.

Faith and hope become pure truth with the lover of souls
where He’s all that matters and what in part is now whole.

Perhaps that best describes heaven, it’s where love rules God’s domain
And it’s the pure love of our Savior, the lamb of God that does reign.

But what makes heaven so marvelous isn’t the beauty that abounds
but the presence of Jesus and God’s glory all around.

Mason Swinney
Please, all rights reserved. Contact me for use of any portion of it.


What’s so peaceful about a stroll
Along a warm and sandy beach
The tide rolls in to greet you
And just as quickly it retreats.

Crabs scurrying all about
Like shoppers at a sale
Umbrellas popping up
Like mushrooms in a swale.

People all around you
Like peacocks on parade
Some painted white like seashells
Others covered, in the shade.

But it’s the children who grab your attention
Searching for shells with all their might
And the quality of the shells means little
It’s the finding that brings delight.

So with life it is the journey
Not the toys that we acquire
And the people that go with us
That makes the trip a joy.

And we discover on our journeys
Just how wise our parents have been
And as we ponder that change in thinking
We discover it’s us who’ve changed, not them.

Mason Swinney
Please, all rights reserved. Contact me for use of any portion of it.

Childish Thoughts

Remember Jesus said His home
Was for little ones like these,
But He didn’t give ages
So there’s still time for me.

And it was Jesus who blessed them
though the 12 tried running them off;
And t’was the children singing Hosannas
To Jesus on His way to the cross.

Having faith like a child’s
Means accepting Him as fact
No need for discussion
God said it, that’s that!

They don’t notice skin color
Even gender’s not seen
They just see other people
Life’s never routine.

Every day new excitement
No time for a nap
There’s life out their waiting
To explore, then a lap.

If we lived life by faith,
And that faith like a child’s
Every mile’d bring excitement
Hot or cold never mild.

How the world would change
With a faith that was real
Living life by the moment
Every thing a big deal.

The games being played
Wouldn’t matter who won
The funs in the playing
Not the final outcome.

Our standards for living
Would greatly simplify
God said it, I’ll do it
As the called multiply.

If we had disagreements
They wouldn’t last long
Bad memories would shorten
Everyone would belong.

No anti-depressants,
No anxiety pills
It’s life for the moment
With all of its thrills.

The psychiatrist’s couch
Now a chair in the den,
Our focus on going
Not where we have been.

No life in the fast lane
No second best
Each person an equal
No time for regrets.

Hope would be natural
No time for despair
In touch with our feelings
Life is real, not a dare.

Not getting insulted
No low self-esteem
Just people with faces
You can’t wait to see.

No worries, no pride
It’s all up to God
Not fretting over appearance
Or what outfit to wear.

A life lived to the fullest
With not a care in the world
Takes trusting in Jesus
Like little boys and girls.

And faith like a child’s
Would change planet earth
We’d simply just do it,
God said it would work!

Mason Swinney
Please, all rights reserved. Contact me for use of any portion of it.

The Language of Lament

With me I’m most dishonest
When my suffering I deny
“Everything’s going fine”
Is more often just a lie.

God didn’t say life’d be easy,
He said it would be hard
But don’t forget He also said
He’d be there to walk along.

Lament is like a 3 leg stool
It’s legs faith, hope and love
All 3 of them are needed
For us to rise above.

But it begins when we are honest
About the suffering life has brought
When we admit that we are broken
Half the battle has been fought.

God’s okay with our anger
Just don’t allow it to cause sin
God knows life brings much sorrow
Admitting it brings it to an end.

Even Jesus Christ our Savior
Lamented on the cross at Calvary
When alone with all man’s sorrows
Cried out, “Why have You forsaken Me”.

Bad things really do happen
To good people all the time
And the reasons hard to swallow
Pat answers numb the mind.

Lament is healing’s language
Used by suffering when it wails
Expressing how much it’s hurting
With the frustrations life entails.

Lamenting’s not for cowards,
Being honest with how we feel
Takes a different kind of courage
The kind of courage that is real.

But there’s power in lamenting
That’s hard to comprehend
But admitting the pain we’re feeling
Allows God to enter in.

Though His answers often different
Than what we thought it be
In the end we have to trust Him,
For He is God, not me.

Recall how Job lamented,
How life no longer mattered
And regretted being born
In a world where dreams are shattered.

But God commended Job
Though Job challenged Him a lot;
When he demanded God debate him,
He got his thinking turned about.

Jesus was gentle with lamenters
God’s word shows it all the time
He granted what they asked Him
And sent them away restored and fine.

Lamenting helps the sufferer
But also those that view the grief
Man is not an island
We’re blessed watching grief released.

Do we praise God in the good times
And the bad times moan laments?
It’s when you stand them both together
That life seems to make most sense.

So lament is more than venting
It’s honestly facing all of life
And knowing the God of wonders
Will bless His children through their strife

Hope changes how we suffer
Only God is in control;
Praise Him when He’s holding us
Even when we doubt it most.

For in the end He’s high above it
And somehow uses it for good,
But good starts with being honest
And our suffering understood!

And so we must accept it,
God’s not surprised by anything
As we accept what life delivers
And let Him know we trust in Him.

Even in the face of evil
When the bad guys seem to win
Knowing God will bless us through it
Allows the healing to begin.

God loves us unconditionally
That’s what true loves all about
Lamenting helps us see that
It’s the kind God wants from us!

Just as life seems most important
As we stand at death’s dark door,
Lament helps us to fathom
God’s sovereignty and more.

It’s as though life seems much clearer
Juxtaposing black and white,
God’s sovereignty comes full circle
Turning darkness into light.

Mason Swinney
Please, all rights reserved. Contact me for use of any portion of it. Thank you.


Up thinking about the Jones’
What it means to be a friend
They’ve always been there for us
Now’s our turn to pray they mend.

Injured in a car crash
Returning from a time with family
We pray that God will hold them
And restore them to all that they can be.

How life can change in a moment
From thoughts of retiring, having fun
To fighting to keep on breathing
Another day to serve the Son.

In life we learn some very hard lessons
And most don’t seem to make much sense
Like why good people have to suffer
While around others God’s placed a fence.

It’s in these times of testing
That our faith legs do appear
As we continue holding on to Jesus
And put aside all doubt and fear.

And all we can do is trust Him
After all He knows what’s best
Since he’s the God that made ’em
There’s no need to second-guess.

So rest in God’s assurance
There’s no reason for us to doubt
Our God knows what He’s doing
And in the end it all works out.

Mason Swinney
Please, all rights reserved. Contact me for use of any portion of it.

Imagination Nation

When we examine our lives
We have to ask why
Our imagination has left us,
What caused it to die?

Just a short time ago
Our imagination ran wild
But now it seems foolish
To think like a child.

Remembering the times
We spent at the beach
A new world before us
New treasures in reach.

Shells became seahorses
Or a mermaid’s tail
The larger the sea shell
The more awesome the tale.

Piers became gangplanks
Every man Captain Hook
Sailboats were pirate ships
Where’s the treasures they took?

Fish nibbling on your tummy
Did you feel that shark bite
Every container a crabs home
Though few lasted the night.

At night beaches got scary
The sounds twice as loud
Every movement a monster
Out on the prowl.

The castles and sand angels
We made just that day
Rounded and flattened
By God’s powerful waves.

Then all of a sudden
You look back in despair
What happened, what changed
Can I still go back there?

Is it part of not feeling
That’s caused us to stop
Using our imaginations
To view life all about.

Or perhaps just to busy,
Deadlines to meet
Stress our companion,
Be successful, compete.

But what are we missing
Living always like adults
Our minds, facts and figures
Our only purpose results.

Is that why as we get older
Our main focus our grandkids?
There’s a price for success
We never intended to give.

But life with our grandchildren
Gives us one final chance
To find out what’s important
Live a little, have a blast.

With the children the maestros
In life’s great symphony,
Instruments all about us
But it takes imagination to see.

So grab one and play it
Be a kid for a while
Use your imagination to travel
The journey’s worth while.

Remember, for life to be treasured
This thought must be embraced,
Swings once were for flying
And our kites reached outer space.

Mason Swinney
Please, all rights reserved. Contact me for use of any portion of it. Thanks


The beauty of the butterfly
With its colors so intense
Sailing gracefully forward
It’s destiny in suspense.

It drifts from flower to flower
No real pattern to its moves
It occasionally stops to ponder
Then off again to choose.

The heart so also flutters
When the dance of love begins
As you gently hold each other
Praying the song will never end.

There are bumps along the journey
The flight course rearranged
And thorns come with the roses
As mud comes with the rain.

And the Spirit seems to move it
Like the butterfly and wind
You know not where it’s going
But real life is now within.

Satan will attack you
Two times you’ve failed before
What makes you think you’ll make it?
You’re going to fail once more.

Just say Satan get behind us
Your lies we don’t believe
Your destinies the burning Lake
But ours with The Trinity.

The other times were different
The Yoke was not in place
Now it feels much lighter
Firmly set in God’s sweet Grace.

So continue walking faithfully
The easy ways by sight
The wide road leads to trouble
The Narrow Road leads to life.

And the two of you forever
With our Savior will abide
And who God has joined together
Not even Satan can divide.

Mason Swinney
All rights reserved please

My God, My God why have You forsaken Me

These painful words of Jesus
so very hard to hear
though most have thought ’em
throughout eternity.

Why are we so prone
to blame God when life unravels,
yet forget all about him
when the roads more easily traveled.

Yet Jesus isn’t any man,
He is God’s only Son
and came to reconcile us
to the awesome three in one.

Our sin required a payment,
for sins wall to be torn down
but it couldn’t be made by any man
He had to wear God’s crown.

So Jesus made our payment
on the cross at Calvary
and the Father seemed to turn away
for His pain was hard to see.

But Jesus’ very nature
is relationship and love
and would naturally feel confounded
seemingly separated from Above.

But though He felt forsaken
with the weight of sins despair
their relationship never faltered
the Father’s love was always there.

We trivialize the passion
of Jesus on the cross
when we try to understand it
from the perspective of the lost,

’cause Jesus truly loved us
that’s plain for all who see
but such love is incomprehensible
to sinners like you with me.

Mason Swinney
All rights reserved please.

My Boy

God’s precious gift
arrived on Gabriel’s wings
with cherubim cheeks
and few other things.

Ro snatching him out
of the great angels hands,
while I’m staring at my boy
from a faraway land.

The little boy who brought
such joy and delight,
dark skin, brown eyes
and cheeks you could bite.

He and his “twin” sister
only nine months apart,
Megan blonde and light skinned,
Shaun black hair and dark.

Shaun drawing transformers
and scouting the ditch,
Megan running to the neighbors
never slowing one bit.

Shaun standing by
the delivery room door
worried about his Mom
who he truly adored.

There was nothing more special
to Shaun than his Mother
and where one was,
not far was the other.

His little brother Kris
always wanted to be with him
and was shocked when told
that Shaun might have sinned.

The good old days
at the grandparents’ house
sitting on the porch swing
enjoying life in the South.

Riding bikes on the trails
and down to the pool,
watching the kids playing
never expecting life to turn cruel.

Ripped out of Jackson then Memphis,
heading north we all traveled
not expecting for a moment
that our lives soon would unravel,

cause evil was waiting
just ’round the bend
though we prayed to God
please make it all end.

There’s nothing harder
than watching your child self-destruct
while our faiths being tested
& we’ve run out of luck.

At last it looked as though things
might turn for the best
as Shaun looked outside himself
for help with his mess.

God blessed him with Tiana,
The woman of his dreams
maybe our prodigal story
was not all that it seemed.

But perhaps when you’re OCD
you can’t start afresh
when perfects your standard
and to your past you’re enmeshed.

For its hard starting over
once you’ve taken a hit
for like a fish out of water
you’re hooked after you’ve bit.

To make sense of evil
you must go back to the fall
where Adam and Eve took a small bite
but the price cost us all.

And the serpent continues
crawling in and out of our lives
but the apple he dangles
is an orchard of lies.

Satan’s attacked with a vengeance
but the victory’s not his
cause in the end Shaun’s with Jesus
and Satan’s in the abyss.

So now Job is my best friend
and my dreams have been shattered
though I cling to God’s promises
’cause it’s only Jesus that matters.

And Tiana who always wanted
to give God her best,
never dreamed for a moment
Shaun’ d be His request.

But it’s hard not to wonder
what might have been
though I take comfort in knowing
I’ll see Shaun again.

But still change is hard
and separation so lonely
so you avoid the why questions
and ‘what if I’d only’.

But life must continue
and we numbly go on
cause that’s what’s expected
but please hold the shalom.

I cling to the memories
of my boy and his life
his sweet smile, sensitivity
and desire to be right.

God give us Your focus
on all these events
& never forget t’was Your glory
that Your Boy’s life was spent!

Mason Swinney
All rights reserved please

Where Have All The Father’s Gone

Many simply walked out
self-absorbed and out of touch.
Others followed family patterns
and took the easy road, copped out.

Once the cycle starts
it’s difficult to change
and the resulting disappointments
end in tragedy and shame.

So who protects the children
when the fathers are all gone,
easy pickings for the evil one
who with his demon’s roams.

Boys searching for heroes
to look up to and emulate,
Warriors whose weapons are love and truth
and negating all the hate.

And girls without their fathers
are like birds that can cannot fly,
the cats soon devour them
no matter how hard they try.

Ever wonder why pets are thriving,
yet our babies we abort,
is it because the need to mother
is hard wired in who girls are.

Satan guessed correctly that Adam
would choose Eve over God
and ever since that nibble
men and women have been at odds.

But when we live as God intended
families prosper, grow and thrive
so let’s get our acts together
and help our families to survive.

For the game of life to prosper
men must step up to the plate
and love and honor Mommy
and to their children ingratiate.

Cause if saying “my baby’s mama”
is the best that we can do,
there’s little hope for the family
as God’s judgment comes in view.

Mason Swinney
All rights reserved please

The Meaning of Christmas

The meaning of Christmas is not found in the years
but rather the people with whom we face life’s fears.

For life is a challenge not easily trod
that requires friends and family who gently do prod

to keep moving forward t’wards life’s final goal
while walking by faith and guarding our souls.

Life’s greatest gifts aren’t presents easily wrapped
but the people who for us stand in the gap.

Like Roberta who’s faithful and gentle example
of loving and caring and from God’s storehouse do sample.

And Shaun with his risk taking but sensitive ways
yet whose gentle and helpful and warmth do hold sway.

And Meg so pretty, outgoing and caring
so much like her Mother but a tad more daring.

And Kris whose inherited the best of us both
competitive, relational with a full measure of hope.

Our kids are so much alike and yet so unique
and through them God gives us a heavenly peak.

God’s gifts have come in all shapes and sizes
but my kids are the greatest even with all the surprises

and the meaning of Christmas has changed over the years
now being together is the gift I hold dear.

Christmas reminds us of God’s greatest gift to the world
and in Jesus’ image God made all boys and girls.

Who Am I, Really?

Are Life’s toughest lessons
viewed in our rearview mirrors;
like we learn from our failures
we’ve been told all these years?

But true wisdom’s not learned
through our own mistakes;
true wisdom is learned
through mistakes other’s make.

The Pharisee’s thought they were something
but God said they were frauds,
though they strutted like peacocks
their entire being was flawed.

From that we should learn
it’s not how we appear,
but what’s in our hearts
that draws our God near.

Can you know who to trust,
with all the noise in the world
that seems to make sense
until the results start to unfold.

Jesus said it’s not the outside
that’s important to Him;
it’s what’s on the inside
that determines our end.

We talk about weaknesses,
not about strengths;
we’re fine with our strong points,
it’s the weak ones we ain’t.

Business’ that talk of good service
you can bet that it’s not;
or, how much they can help you
don’t believe all that rot.

With me it’s relationships
that I talk about often,
not because I’m relational
but because I’m so wanting.

Or, government can do it better,
their record shows that’s a lie;
if it had all the answers
would our debt be so high?

Obama talks about transparency,
history proves that he’s not;
our deficiencies plague us
and we talk most about.

What motivates us
to do what we do?
Are we driven by good thoughts
or self-interest askew?

My need for perfection,
rooted in wanting to please,
people won’t like me
if there’s nothing received.

But when your standards perfection,
you can’t drop your guard,
one mistake kills your record
and in the end you’re a fraud.

God makes no mistakes,
we’re made how He planned;
we’re not freaks of nature,
we’ve been made by God’s hands.

But knowing our true self
and Whose image we bear,
frees us for life’s journey,
knowing God’s really there.

If we see self as God does
we’ll be wrapped head to toe
with Jesus’ righteousness,
His holiness, not show!

Mason Swinney

Please, all rights reserved. Contact me for use of any portion of it. Thanks


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