All Is Nothing

All is nothing,

But a dream,

And I am the only thing real,

and I am but a thought.


But where did the thought come from?


Did I think myself into existence?

For I know that I had a beginning,

and surely as any other man,

I shall have an end.


Or shall I?


But logic has no hold in the darkest anguish,

and loquaciousness is overpowering when backed by charisma.

Such questions will not show me a way out of my pain,

or expose to me just who is telling the lies.


For there are two speakers in the darkness.

The nothing.

And the quiet.


One who was, but is not,

shall be again, yet soon shall never be again,

And one who always was, is, and shall be,

and has no need of bluster.


It’s strange how loud nothing can be,

yet still insist on its own nothingness,

that it is not there,

that it is not recommending despair,

that it is not wrestling me for the last few sparks of hope,

clutched in the hands,

that it claims I do not have.



I know the darkness,

and the Valley of the Shadow of Death,

where sit the lonely and lost,

listening to nothing.


I have been here long,


too long,

asking why the dragon’s fire has to hurt so much,

and wondering if it is really refining,

or what will be left when it is done.


Refined lead is still lead, after all,

But I hope to be gold,

or at least silver.


I am certain that Peter begged,

as he struggled with his own sin,

his three times “I know him not”,

and it is written that Paul did,

with his three times,

“Please take this away.”


But they gave in,

and took the piercing grain,

and when the world prized open their shells,

and destroyed the fleeting meat within,

they left pearls upon pearls

for those who followed.


What of my suffering?

And what then of Twain’s?

Or Spafford’s, or Sartre’s,

or Nietzsche’s, or Teresa’s,

or of the lowly Christian slave who was raped just the other day?


I do not know.


But I believe.


As Joseph believed as he wasted,

day after day in a darkened prison,

for a crime he did not commit,

in a place he should not have been,

where he was because his brothers had hated him,

for his pride,

or because he was loved.


I believe,

That all that I see and I feel,

Is not the substance that all will become,

and that the promise to make all things new,

shall be done,

and be good.


I believe,

that all things intended for evil,

will be redeemed and turn out for the good,

and that even when all hands seem against me,

I am held,

and much loved.


I believe,

that all will have what they wanted,

but not all will want what they have,

but that finally those who want mercy,

will have peace.


I believe,

Christ shall come.



This poem is a response to the end of Mark Twain’s “Mysterious Stranger”, specifically, “Number 44, the Mysterious Stranger.” You can check out the quote HERE. I will warn you that it is very challenging. This poem was written from the depths while wrestling with the questions Twain asks and the conclusions he came to, and is the fruit of Christ’s victory over those conclusions during that dark time.


One thought on “All Is Nothing

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