Poetry

by Paul Hall


The Gardener

I wept.
At the mention of my name, I knew him.
With a touch of tender mercy,
Had not these hands healed me?
In my despair and my infirmity,
Had he not come?
What worth was I?
What worth was I
That he should say,
Mary, be thou healed?
And yet he had known me
As though I had been molded
By these very hands.
He had known me,
And when he touched my head
He healed not only my body
But my heart.

There Is in Children

There is in children an inexorable mockery.
They step with my step
to the same brittle music
played out by time.
And their pleasures multiply
(like mine).
The sun glistens on their limbs.
Even the winter longs to stay
on their sweet breath.
As their days fall like dappled dominoes
touching each other
into unsettled repose
I taste their laughter
in the tongue of my throat.
And upward, behind my eyes,
I hear the range of their voices
in tears I have held
since I could do no more
with time.

Blessing

I understand it now as
I watch you walk
ascend
your pin-striped shoulders dark and
broad,
bundle of white in your arms.
The circle encloses.
Your larger hands love
lift
more than hold the sleeping child,
the word-psalm still to summon.
Father-son covenant,
humble prayer reveals
blessing
a knowledge gained not from knowing,
but from deepest listening.
Lost in dark-suited prayer,
tall father, tiny
son
I understand it clearly now.
Our separate powers are one.