Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mary & John

Tell me, mother, more about Jesus.
Did he cry as a child?
Did you ever have to swat him?
And what did his father Joseph tell him before his death?
Ah, you have seen many die, mother,

but you have seen one raised to life!

Did he build you a house,
after his father's death?
One to live in and have your children visit?
Ah, and he is building you a house even now!
He said so, and perhaps soon you will get to see it;
to live in the house your son built must be a joy
inexpressible, and full of glory.


Do you remember the feast?
The first sign, done in his generosity -
for he is generous, even now -
and how fine a feast, how glad our hearts,
how the bride and groom delighted in each other and the wine.

Your eyes are dim now mother,
but not so dim as when your boys
brought you to entreat him home as a madman-
they know better now! -
and not so dim as I saw them
on that hill where he died.

Ah, mother, you are fading from this life!
You have lived between the times,
between the nations and the ages,
and have seen both earth and heaven opened up!
I may tarry here a little longer,
I have much to write, if they do not find me out,
but I will be with you soon, no doubt.
I pray for you mother, in your age and sickness.
And so does your son.
Sleep well, mother Mary. Good night.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The debts I owe

I shall set out the debts I owe,
that I not be found remiss in paying any,
or if by my weakness and failings
(for I am a man fallen in Adam)
I must let slip some shekel here or there,
I should like it best that it damage least.

First, Lord of all my heart, I owe you all,
and this is due at any time, upon your Word,
commanding singly or at once that I disburse
those gifts you gave for me to give - at last my life.

Next, wife of mine, I owe to you my love,
my body, soul, and laughing eyes,
(too often do I give you what's not yours -
weary looks or anger, forgive - please)
my life, my labor and attention that I be
as Christ unto His Bride, and give you all.

My sons and daughter, I owe you my hands,
my heart, my life by way of leading you to God,
I owe you love and stories, room to run,
and though perhaps in time, to hold a gun,
yet now I owe you lights of love and joy,
a guided tour of this world made by God
for His sons and daughters to explore.

God's people, here and there, far and near,
to you I owe that love of friendship, amity, welcome,
an open door and an open hand,
and here I fear I fail too often,
conceiving that small circle round about,
because it's all I see, to be all there is,
but you sons of God, I owe you
water, food, a visit and that decent respect
that a son of God should show for those
whom Christ's blood has covered - shouldn't I?

O world, what owe I you?
Only those curses for which I applied.
A house,
a job,
the thousand ticking clocks of small expenses,
yet what do I get
for these debts?
but sorrow, grief, and care.

Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may have a heart of wisdom,
but not, O Lord, offend you with a census of all else,
but give, that grace that flows like water from your throne,
may it pour through our hearts and lives to you and unto all.

To Dig is To Live

It is to throw your back into the swing,
to guide, gently as you may, the hurtling mattock
to land true, or risk your feet, your eyes, your work.
It is to make a choice, firmly fixed in the face of a featureless plot,
"there, and nowhere else, shall I dig, and for thus",
to commit, to strain, to never quite be as deep as it seemed you were,
to overturn innocuous earth, unexpected roots, and the dwellers below the surface.
It is violence turned to the end of growth, of planting the good and uprooting the bad.
It is fine enough alone, but better with two, and best with your family,
with boys eager to watch, learn, help, and dig their own ways as seem best to them.
It is to plant, to water, to wait, once the digging is done,
for it was done to a purpose, that fruit may come in time.