Poem For the Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany 3)

ASKING: LISTENING
(MATTHEW 4: 12-23)

Whom shall we ask to explain these fishermen
so strange to us:
their action, their choice so immediate,
our moves so often those of safe calculation?

Shall we ask the endlessly circling gulls
if the fishers at least showed reluctance,
if they, like us, preferred familiarity,
clung to old habits, the comfortable ways,
enjoyed the safe harbour, the known road?

Shall we ask the waters if there were hidden
reasons: if the wind that day was blowing in
and hard, the kind you have to fight against
just to launch the boat; or if they had torn the skin on
their hands again hurling nets into its force; had
simply grown weary and wanted change?

Let the eager grasses speak the foundations:
how winds had whispered of the preacher since
the day John had pointed to his path,
that when he spoke the sun would seem
to lean a little nearer in the sky
as if its light was sinking deeper in their souls,
and they would think:
“Could this be it, the time for which
we’ve waited, prayed: God’s reign begun,
and he the One who brings it?” – pulses
quickened until even the thickened
calluses on their hands would seem to tingle.

And let the rooted trees tell of a call
the unseen stream that dances in your bones, comes
singing down the river of your veins until it turns
your inner compass to a true north of its own –
the call that makes the untried path less fearful,
unexplored horizons new home towns.

Then they, who left their boats that day
might tell how it is with time:
that there is a time to drift, when
wind and wave will bear you on
their whims; and a time to put an anchor down
against the currents’ shift. But then you sense
the call, which means the time is
now to lift the sail, let go
the fastening rope, and let your face
be turned to unknown shores.

And they might say that such a time and way
may come for us as well,
and to all who can listen deeper,
and a little more.

Copyright © 2014 by Andrew King

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2 thoughts on “Poem For the Sunday Lectionary (Epiphany 3)

  1. I LOVE this poem! I love the comparison between discipleship and “setting sail,” letting go. So beautiful, Andy!

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