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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Life (06/15/06)

TITLE: Six billion, six hundred and twenty-four million, six hundred and fifty-eight thousand, four hundred and seventy-four
By Helen Paynter


Six billion, six hundred and twenty-four million, six hundred and fifty-eight thousand, four hundred and seventy-four

Populationís time-bombís ticking -
Hour by hour the counterís clicking;
Face past face past faces flicking;
Rubbish hills for vagrantsí picking -
Uncontrolled, the time-bombís ticking.

Like a microbe culture, swarming -
Forests scorched, new cities forming;
Belching cars, the climate warming;
Countless selfish voices, storming -
Virulent, mankind is swarming.

Ant-like shanty towns are seething -
Fretful babies, crossly teething;
Effluent their bodies wreathing;
Dying childrenís laboured breathing -
How the shanty towns are seething!

Do they sense the Spirit brooding?
Refugees, cold fear exuding;
Silent rich, with thugs colluding;
Cataracted eyes, occluding -
Over each, the Spiritís brooding.

Canít they hear the song Heís singing?
Harried Chinese cyclists, ringing;
Kenyan girls, clean water bringing;
Flooded Phillipinos, clinging -
Need to share the joy Heís singing.

Do they hear the Saviour calling?
Angry men in beer-soaked brawling;
Coal-streaked miners, roughly hauling;
Street-wise market-traders, bawling -
Drowning out the Saviour calling.

Do they feel the Father, blessing?
Pin-striped city traders stressing;
Generals with tanks processing;
Tired commuters hotly pressing -
Hostile hearts, but ripe for blessing.

Do they know the Fatherís weeping?
Buddhist monks in temples, sleeping;
Proud Montana farmers, reaping;
Work-worn Masai mothers, sweeping -
For their griefs the Fatherís weeping.

Lord who sees each sparrow falling,
Hears each individual calling -
Half the world is still unknowing,
Careless of the love youíre showing.
No salvation but by calling,
Cannot call unless believing,
Wonít believe except through hearing,
Will not hear without sound preaching.

Lord of harvest, white and waiting,
Choosing joy by re-creating -
Wake your people who are sleeping,
Send them out into the reaping.

In the time it took you to read this poem the world population increased by 456.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny ? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. Matt 10 v 29

The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field Matt 9 v 37-38

"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? Rom 10 v 13-14

All quotations taken from the New International Version

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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This article has been read 1189 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 06/22/06
This is AWESOME. Nothing else to say, you've written a perfect poem.
Lynda Schultz 06/23/06
What can I say but, WOW!
Sue Dent06/23/06
Does a good job of making one feel sort of insignificant before bringing it back around!! Excellent job! And A+ for eye-catching title!!!
6,624,658,474 just wouldn't have been as effective! ;)
Dolores Stohler06/23/06
This is well written but I have one problem with it--you name all the sadness in the world and hint at the trouble to come. But you failed to tell of the joy that is out there as well, the souls that are being saved and the 2nd coming of our Savior to those redeemed by his blood. Another thing--poverty is not as tragic as the rich seem to think. I've seen greater love and happiness reflected in the faces of the poor than I've ever seen on the faces of the privileged members of society.
Marilyn Schnepp 06/24/06
The topic was Life! And indeed you wrote about six billion PLUS lives that are mostly stressed out, but we're blessed too. You've made a very good point however, and gives the Christian Writer a mandate...to Tell The Good News to as many of those six billion as we can! Good job!
Suzanne R06/26/06
Wow ... this is thought provoking, magnificently written, and leaves the reader with a real challenge. Well done!!!
Sherry Wendling06/26/06
Dear Helen, this one has got to be IT: the piece that bumps you up where you belong, in Level 4! Absolutely flawless verse, tremendously powerful message. I'm in awe!
Dr. Sharon Schuetz06/26/06
Helen, this poem is absolutely incredible. You touched on so many of the peoples of the world who need this message. Great job. I LOVED IT. You are an awesome writer.
Sue Dent06/26/06
I'll second the writer above, I think Helen is cheating too! I think you call it sandbagging! Writing just controversial enough so that the judges just can't score it any higher than they do! Well enough is enough!!!! Blue nosed-gopher's aside. Helen should've been in Masters three entries ago!!!! :) ;)
Jessica Schmit06/26/06
yes, yes, yes...I agree with the others. Sorry it took me so long to get over here, the weekend was crazy. This is incredible Helen. I loved the format, the rythmn, the style, the message and the ending was well...words can't do it justice. It was amazing. fabulous job on this piece and hope to see you in mAsters!
Pat Guy 06/26/06
This is incredibly awesome! Wow! What an entry! You did it girl!
david grant06/27/06
ok. You get a DAVEY with his arms crossed and face angry, saying "take me up to Masters with you!"
Terrific time bomb, with the longest title in FW Writer's challenge history!

Loved it!
Jen Davis06/27/06
A very thoughtful, intelligent, heartfelt piece. I loved the way you wove examples of the current conditions of the world and its people throughout. The bold sentence at the end gave your story that added punch. Very well done.
Trina Courtenay06/27/06
Helen, how powerful! That last line really blew me away.

Here's a question: In math I thought I had learned not to place the 'and' until just before the very last # ie: and seventy-four. I very well could be mistaken so I'd better look it up.

Anyhow, awesome poem, & got me to thinkin.

Blessings! See you next quarter.
Helen Paynter06/27/06
Interesting point. I can't work out how to do this otherwise - Six billion, six hundred twenty-four million, six hundred fifty-eight thousand, four hundred and seventy-four doesn't sound right. I suspect the rule applies to joining groups of numbers - so you say three thousand, nine hundred and fifty-one rather than three thousand and nine hundred and fifty-one. But if anyone knows the definitive answer I'd be interested.
Sue Dent06/27/06
Yes, that's right her entry is sooooooo good we have to resort to critiqueing her title lest she get a big head!! Of course, I am just joking, Helen! My neighbor had a baby yesterday. I thought of your poem. :)
Trina Courtenay06/27/06
Sue, I'm not critiqueing Helen's poem. (how could anyone find something wrong with this excellent entry?) Only asking a question....lol & you're right her entry is soooooooo good that I just had to let her know again.

Way to go Helen! Awesome job.

PS I had to come back to see if anyone had the answer. I've been so busy reading all of the great entries this week I haven't had the time today to research my own Q.
Amy Michelle Wiley 06/30/06
Oh, I love the fast pace of this poem. Very fitting and very well-written!
Brenda Craig07/02/06
Helen, I read this on Sue's site and the ticking along with the poem made my heart race with the urgency I know you must have felt when you wrote it. It is absolutely wonderful and enlightening. I would encourage everyone to read it there with the ticking clock. Oh, My you are an excellent writer. I am humbled.
Sharlyn Guthrie07/03/06
I just read this poem and had to comment. You did a wonderful job! It is so well-constructed, and rhythmic! The message is excellent, as well. What an awesome God we have!
Deborah Ade08/14/06
We just had a terrific sermon in church about outreach. It stated that we know so we are the only ones that can share.
Then I came across this poem while I was surfing around. Thank you. Well written and very true.