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All We Really Need

Josh Broward, Michael Kramer, Simon Mercer


Three poems submitted by Plough readers.


Josh Broward

I wrote this poem in South Korea, where I served as a pastor for nine years. I had escaped to the rooftop to pray and to grieve while I was preparing to officiate the funeral for a close family friend and church member named So-Young Gu, who died suddenly of liver cancer. She was the same age as me, 33.


How do I lead
where I don’t want to go?
How do I walk
a trail I’d rather not know?
How do I help
people hurt a good hurt?
How do I speak
broken heart to broken heart?
How do I pray
words I’d rather not say?
How do I plan
when I’d rather skip that day?


Michael Kramer

Noli timere (fear not) were the last words Seamus Heaney texted his wife, according to his son Michael, speaking at his father’s funeral in Dublin, September 1, 2013.

Noli timere

I would convey such grace, concern myself with others
even as I pass my moments last upon this earth -
“There’s nothing to fear” - “Fear nothing” - the angel’s
reassurance to shepherds past their understanding.
Could I give that confidence, no or little faith
required to contemplate resurrection, reunion, whatever
mysteries await, complete my days here,
but then I’d know as two fingers and two
make four. I’d know as surely as I love those
I entwine within my daily life,
I’d know and lose that great and last surprise
we wait and plan and contemplate towards God.


Simon Mercer

A visiting Kenyan pastor was so smitten by reading a random page from a book that I showed him that he begged to take it back to Africa with him. The book: Innerland.

He Struck Gold

Opening a book
and hearing a friend
he suddenly found himself deep,
a part of the eternal river,
and as such, he knew,
he would never grow old
and never be lonely.


Man in a coat walking away down the road lit by evening light.