Back to Manger and Thorn

The sacred book is here, I said,
Let learn who will—
Following on the ancient page
His sandled imprint
On the dusty ways of Nazareth
To that last hill of Olives.
I watch the purple flow as ewers fill
With wine transmuted,
From the windy shore witness the wave
Surrender to His will,
And from the silence which is death,
A cease of tears, at Nain—
Return of pulsing breath.
But beauty and bread of the world
Housed with me
And doubt, an often present guest,
Tempted me far from the hills of Ephraim
From the lilied fields
From the songs of David
To faith as frail
As mist on the mountain,
Brief as a circling of gulls
At the sea’s edge.
I have come back,
Back to manger and thorn,
Shielding the light
From the lamp of commandment
To shepherd me home,
Humbled by seasons that fled
Without harvest,
Chastened at last
By the doubt that betrayed me.
Lord, gather me
Into the net of Thy nearness
That I too may touch
The hem of Thy garment,
And let there be calming
Of wind and of water
That I may walk firmly
The wave of Thy word.

The First

I do not wonder
Heaven’s fire
which brings to earth
the sphere life-giving,
is called
“the sun.”
For there is One
who likewise rose to heaven—
light and life of all the world—
who from the first was
and ever is
“The Son.”
Nor do I wonder
that, of seven days,
Sabbath worship hours
should light
a morning termed

[illustration] “Healing of the Woman with the Issue of Blood,” by Tissot