The Offering

To love
Is to risk
The essence of self,
Never knowing
If it will bear
Or thorn;
But knowing,
In some quiet way,
We must at least

A Widow’s Lullaby at Winter Quarters, 1846

Sleep, my little one—
Sleep while Mother dreams
Of your comely smile
And your small hands cupping my heart;
Of my completeness, holding you;
The happy burden of your trust;
My pride in your unfolding;
The wonders wished for you
Since our first touch.
Even here—
Here in this wind-whipped place,
This savage wilderness,
You have been my courage
And my star.
Sleep, my little one—
Sleep in your narrow bed
Under your coverlet of prairie sod
And stones gently piled …
Sleep, while Mother dreams
And weeps—
Walking the long, lonely miles ahead.


A learning
of new doctrine
is not conversion.
it is remembering
strains of melody
sung once
long before.

Fabric of Faith

May I strengthen
Tenuous fibers of faith
To become
Sturdy cords of conviction,
Then to be woven
As whole cloth so fine
It can withstand tests
Of tension and time.

[illustration] “Faith,” by Harold Hopkinson