Oh, come to me across the hills
on any rugged path you find,
and though it calls you backward still,
leave dusty Galilee behind
to let me hear you say my name.
Call to my now in ancient voice
to crack my chrysalis of shame
as something in me leaps for joy.
O Mother of my Lord, O blest,
how can it be that you should come?
But like the swallow, build your nest
and stoop to rest in this, your home:
no bygone shrine, untouched by years,
but living, breathing dirt and grime.
Come clothe him in my sweat and tears
and cradle him in arms like mine.
Not in a page of history
or atlas of a distant land,
but come, my mother: Visit me;
I'll feel him move beneath my hands.
Bring him to me! Bring me your son,
and quicken me with his own life,
that all my days while yet they run,
may hold the living, present Christ.
Yesterday, we had John the Baptist in the Gospel again. As he waited for the Savior, so his parents had waited for him. Here they are:
I write these words because I have no speech;
I have no speech because I spoke my scorn.
And so the Lord requites us, each for each:
a sin with loss, a long night with new morn.
I would have been a fool to take his word,
so now I am ten thousand times a fool
to doubt a messenger sent by the Lord,
although the hope he held out then seemed cruel.
I am an old, old man, as Abraham
was old when Sarah laughed at promises
that she should bear a son. It seemed a sham
to mock a husband for his weaknesses.
As God will not be mocked, so mocks he not,
and I in deadly earnest keep my peace
because I told his angel he'd forgot
the covenants that promised us increase:
a righteous man with arrows for his bow,
an olive flourishing inside the home.
What had my great sin been, I longed to know.
But now a hope as sweet as honeycomb
o'erflows its savor through my life and limbs.
The Lord did not forget, though he delayed.
A child is coming, and I wait for him;
the long night wavers, and I wait for day.
Not all my days of sacrifice,
my nights of whispered prayer,
my tears and curses--none suffice
to make me fit to bear.
Yet God at last has bent his eyes
on me in my despair
and given me this paradise
beyond any compare.
For all the days of all my years,
I've walked the world about
upheld by faith beyond all fears,
borne down within by doubt.
As sons and daughters blessed my peers,
they cast me further out,
'til waters rose and drowned in tears
my barren years of drought.
And now a green shoot grows in me
where all had desert been.
A saving ark rides on the sea
and bears a life within.
Though I have walked at large and free,
my heart was chained herein,
so I withdraw to wait and see
what God shall make begin.