Poetry

By Florence Boutwell


Continuity

Although the mountain peaks are blotched with snow,
The air is bubbly warm and cocky bright,
And new excitement swells on farms below
With maple blossoms red and kites in flight.
Wild purple Iris flock along the creek
And buttercups spot all the woodland trails;
Town children, coatless, play at hide ’n seek
And gather butterflies and toads and snails.
As temperatures grow warmer, challenging
The threatening cold, snow grumbling yields heights,
And animation floods another Spring
Expanding through the land, erasing blights
And scars. Thus I learn that death and strife
Are but the briefest incidents in life.

There Comes a Time

There comes a time in each poet’s life
when he thinks he ought to talk of death.
For that is the subject of much great poetry—
at least they tell me it’s great poetry,
and I’m inclined to be a believer
even though the great dead poets
had not yet died when they wrote
of this great mystery.
Nor did they, it seems, pay much attention
to those who had,
preferring to listen
mostly to their own voices,
suspecting a flaw, a trap,
fearing, perhaps, the words of others
might smother their own—
not a good feeling when you are a great poet.
So they sat resting on a bridge
or sometimes crossed a bar,
tired of all these things
the rest of us get used to.
And those other, those silent voices?
Jarius’s daughter, the widows’ sons?
No one bothered to write them down.
They may have seemed too small a part of the miracle.
Or maybe they were just too soon overshadowed by
“Reach hither thy hand, … handle me, and see.”

Unnamed Disciple

I saw Him pass along the thoroughfare,
I could not hear his silent, sandalled feet;
The air was rich with scent of ripened ware
The market vendors offered in the street.
Yet as He passed, I felt a strange disquiet
With haggling tone and petty household cares;
I felt again the questing of the night,
The secret, searching burden of my prayers.
I left the throng and ran at anxious pace
To catch the tall, spare figure on the crest;
He heard my steps and turned—I saw His Face;
He had no need to speak—I knew the rest.
There in the dust, upon my knees I bent,
And wept for joy that I was blessed to see
The great Messiah by the Father sent.
How could I understand Gethsemane
Or see the shadow of the waiting cross?
How torn my heart, how terrible my pain,
Till Mary’s cries broke through the crushing loss—
Such joy, Dear Lord, that you should rise again!
How can I grieve though hard my lot may be,
Who knew such love as very few have known?
I walk by faith, I do not ask to see,
For I am called—my field is ploughed and sown.