Poem for the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Two men went to the temple to pray
Was either sincere? I’m unable to say.
For the temple itself is a stage in a way,
where people strut, elbow, hawk, kneel, beg and bray.

And what’s in the heart – can anyone say?
Was either man searching his soul on that day?
Did the innermost man confess or portray
the angels who guard and the demons who slay?

When daily I stand on the stage of my life
flinching, exposed and thrown into the strife,
may I act with integrity, speak from the heart
may the outer and inner be all of one part.

by Bill Fulton