A Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Advent 4)


(MATTHEW 1: 18-25)

He considers wood,
its resistance to touch,
the nature of its rigidity
out of which timber becomes table,
becomes chair seat and leg,
yielding in their making only to axe blade
and nail point, but unbending to the pressure
of the leaning arm, the weight of the body at rest.
Too much pressure at a single point, though,
and even wood will give way, table buckling,
chair leg snapping, the body dropping, bruised.

He considers flesh,
its awareness of touch,
the nature of its flexibility
out of which tissue becomes muscle,
becomes eyes, lips and fingers,
bone joining bone, skin growing,
body moving, hands readying for work.

He considers spirit,
its lifts, its leaps,
its sometimes feathery touch,
its toughness sometimes
like wood or bone.
Too much pressure at a single point, though,
and spirit, like skin that bruises and splits,
can break like rigid wood.

He considers laws of nature
and the nature of laws
lying beyond his touch,
their seeming inflexibility,
coldness like that of wood,
pressure like that of hammers
on the slenderness of nails.

He considers the heart,
its many feelings; things like love,
the gentle power of its touch,
durable, strong like spirit and skin:
bendable, adaptable, able to grow,
yet something easily broken in unmendable wounds
for which he knows no nail exists.

He considers dreams.
Dreams of healing, of people saved,
dreams of being blessed with good.
And of all that he considers,
of brokenness and repair,
he considers the decision he makes
to resist the splintering of disgrace
as good as anything he’s ever made with wood.

Copyright © 2013 by Andrew King


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