Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Pentecost +20, Yr B)

(Mark 10: 17-31)

The day breaks gray,
the light uncertain
as if unsure of its purpose,
as if making up its mind
about morning; it eases
to a window where a weary
man is leaning, wakeful, eyes
restless, scanning an inner
horizon where thoughts
that will not sleep
cluster, diverge, repeat
their incessant questioning.

The light wanders his rooms,
collects glints from the filigree,
the fine silken fabrics,
the ornaments of wealth,
but his eyes do not follow
its path. With clear memory’s vision
what he sees are other eyes:
the pair that beheld him
yesterday on the road.

“One thing you lack,” Jesus said,
to him who lacked for nothing.
“Sell what you own and follow me.”
And there was warmth in Jesus’ eyes,
there was love for him who questioned
about inheriting eternal life.
But then
such sadness in their depths
as he turned away.
Now today his thoughts, unsettled,
gray as dull daybreak,
interrogate the hollow
in his soul.

Behind him in his rooms
stretch the trophies of the years,
the gathered costly trinkets
that once so warmed his heart.
But their colours seem now cold
and today he is uncertain
about what is and is not “treasure”.
And he cannot turn his face
from the window.
He cannot
turn his gaze from the road.