The verse (and worse) of Arne Herstad


Juvenile Court


Eyes, eyes, burning eyes
Rimmed of blood so red
Cast about the wicked night
Blossoms to behead!

Hands, hands, scaly hands
Claws of fiery clay
Pluck the candle from its stand!
Strum infernal lays!

Feet, feet, flaming feet
Fast among the coals
Lift another brazen heel

Brand another soul!

Heart, heart, icy heart
Lurking to the last
Minion of demonic art
Mildew, botch and blast!

Christ, Christ, risen Christ
Look upon their mind
Fend away the foul device!
Break the chains that bind!


Copyright ©2002 Arne M Herstad





The Skinflint


The skinflint's eye is never full, nor ever are his lips

Devoid of any foul aspersion, bitter curl, or quip

The meter on his mother's grave, so carefully installed

Is set to jerk him from his bed, in case her corpse is called

For when the angels come to bear the saints to the assize

He'll fill his buckets with the pennies falling from their eyes

He'll sell the opened graves, at first, to massing heathen wrecks,

Then rent the rest to headless holdouts measured to their necks

When the hooves of Jehu's horses hound him from his dream,

When the final sickle through the roaring tempest screams,

See the skinflint weigh his bag with but a single thought:

"Where, for thirty pieces, can a hiding place be bought?"

ArneHerstad©2005 May 13th, revised April 1, 2006




 The Codfish


The Devil baits the hook with truth

And leaves his prey no doubt

That what he has before his eye

Need never be spat out


But hidden deep behind the bait

The beckoning, brutal hook

Relieves the cod of every choice

He had before he looked


Beware of every fleeting flash

Or else be like the cod

Who lacks the sense to look aloft

To see who holds the rod


Arne Herstad©2004   November 7th






Politician ploughs the prize                               

His promises have bought                      

Never is his word belied            

By what he does, or not            


For, on gaining office, he          

Reneges on every vow,             

Knowing there's another with     

A hand upon the plow                


Nothing by that Other Hand                    

Is ever left to chance                                                     

If a devil slips the harness                     

Seven more advance                            


Servants of that shaded realm    

Need never spend a thought,     

Fretting how they ought to plow,

Looking back, or not                 


  Arne Herstad©2004   October







     He doesn’t just illuminate

     By spirit, wax or oil

     Instead, a thing too sly for sight

     Comes coursing through his coil


     Inside his universe of glass

     He flies his little sky

     A vacuum will make him last

     But may not meet the eye


     As if by time or happenstance

     And not by much surprise

     A hissing thing eludes my glance

     To find its way inside


     His withered coil is waning dim,`

     Whose ashes are assigned

     To meet a gloom awaiting him

     Before it meets the eye





The Drowning Cat

Vainly clawed the kitty
For the waning waves of light,
Dancing on the waters
On a moony, moonlit night

Two reposing tuna
Found a measure of resolve:
"Let's not kill it," offered one,
"Let's see if it evolves."

©A.Herstad  Sept, 2005




My speetth hat not a thingle thlur
My tongue, a ready writer,
To put to flight the offither
That filthz my rearview mirror
No lack of thibilance of mine
Will raith a foul thuthpithion
Becauth tho many thober thouls
Are found in that condithion

©A.Herstad  Sept, 2005






                                                I saw a little fly go by

                                                For whom it didn't matter

                                                That I was fixing to employ

                                                A flag to make him flatter


                                                He fairly flitted 'round the room

                                                Not landing where I wanted

                                                So flippant in the face of doom,

                                                is freedom, so, he flaunted


                                                Then noticing a gnat or two

                                                He stopped to chit some chatter

                                                He didn't see the gummy goo,

                                                But landed in the batter


                                                His friends were silent, and it fared

                                                Our little fly no better,

                                                Than had he sought opinions aired

                                                Beneath my holey banner.


                                                     Copyright©2002  Arne M. Herstad



My Forbidden Love   


I'd not have fallen farther, had I never seen her eyes

But now my heart is beating out a hope that isn't mine.

The lamps that light her body, the windows of her soul

Bespeak a wellspring deep within, and leaves me partly whole


Forbidden is her very touch, forbidden, too, her hand

Forbidden any fond embrace, forbidden any stand

In any future, near or far, real, fake or flawed

Any fond imagination, any plan of God


For time keeps all appointments, his sands their every vow

That God has set in motion, in his wisdom, until now

I'll leave her to another, then, and never let her know

The sin I sinned in loving her, who left me partly whole

-A. Herstad  3-20-09     ( -Evoked by a recollection related by a friend)



The Bookworm

I like to ruminate on leaves
of misbegotten lore
And bind them into ready sheaves
Before my threshing floor

To sift anew a severed soul
Now partly left behind
And weigh his words in mortal hands
Before the Judgment Time

And see what human plots are hatched
Before God drops the lighted match

ArneHerstad©2005   February 1st



-For Loren

There was an old golfer named Loren
Whose chief difficulty was scorin'
                 Except in such holes
                As are tunneled by moles
Or places one might dip an oar in.

Consider poor Loren, the Dane
Whose glasses are coke-bottle panes
                 The world is apprised
                 By the state of his eyes
That his hand in the matter is plain.

In Denmark the cheese is so thick
They can't get their stickers to stick
                 But knowing the Huns
                 Can provide them with sons
Eases their cheeses a lick

                Copyright©2004 Arne M. Herstad


               The Hiding Place

               If salvation was not simple
                If it was not free
                There could never be a place
                In Heaven made for me

                I could never find the price that
                Jesus paid that day,
                When upon the cross he died
                To take my sin away

                Yes, I know salvation's simple
                And I know it's free
                For the Father sent the Son
                To make a place for me.

                             -ArneHerstad  -2004




-For Joshua


Joshua the Slayer made ready

His axe was as sharp as a knife

The block in his backyard was thirsting

To drink from the goblet of life


The flies were a-buzz with the warning:

“O, come to the feast that is made

  Ready by Joshua the Slayer,

  For we shall be handsomely paid”


So Joshua the Slayer was ready

His axe and his foe were in hand

He stoutly advanced to his altar

And murdered the little red hen


-A. Herstad  8-16-09


Copyright©2009 Arne M. Herstad



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