For the Prophets

For the Nativity of John the Baptist.

This song is for the weird ones
with fire in their eyes
and jumbles on their seared tongues,
whose works are strange and wise.

Elijah with his anger,
who slew the priests of Baal
and burned again on Tabor
when Christ on glory called.

He trembled at the whisper
when raging storms were done
and called the hearts of fathers
back to their long-lost sons.

Or John, whose word went thund'ring,
from Jordan, far and wide,
as soft and sweet as honey
when Christ the Lamb he spied.

Who knew his own decreasing,
the raising of the dead,
Good News to poor folks preaching,
before he lost his head.

So here's to all the odd souls
whose bones'll melt like wax
if they don't speak their hot coals
or try to hold them back.

And here's to words like daggers
they drive into our hearts
to make way for the Rabbi
who pulls our chains apart.
St. John the Baptist Preaching, c. 1665, By Mattia Preti – The AMICA Library, Public Domain,

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