Poetry

By Mary M. Harris


Relay

Accountable for you
these eight fleeting years,
I pass the baton
to you, Son, reluctant
to relinquish that charge,
cherished though cumbersome
and weighing heavily.
No longer dependent
on parents alone,
you seek other counsel—
a still, small voice,
inner promptings,
revelation by the Holy Ghost,
celestial courier.
My responsibility as both
participant and spectator
admits me to this race.
I will embrace you at the finish
as I did at the start.
Run swiftly; endure to victory
and my awaiting arms.

Lonely Men

Glory be to God, and for the lives
of lonely men praise Him: for out
of silence come the songs of prophets,
and out of solitude the word of God derives.
From the shadow of his cowl, Isaiah spoke,
flinging strong words like knives of light
into the heart of Israel; though clear and right,
Jeremiah chafed beneath a yoke;
No-man-friended, Moses bore the weight
of a law to last a thousand lowering years;
like a leaf from the wind hiding, Moroni, hate
pursuing, trod a continent alone. Fears
Saul the people? Paul does not. Berate them,
stripe them, crucify them, jeers ringing:
they only die, God’s praises singing.

Cross-Stitch

As a young mother, I found great consolation in my cross-stitch.
While my five boys and one girl tangled and tumbled toward adulthood,
I took comfort in predictable patterns of tiny x’s.
While my six claimed right to their own designs, somewhat irregular,
My obedient needle laid down ordered rows on my command.
While my half-dozen searched, stretched, and stumbled beyond the narrow frame,
My finished cloths were ironed flat, pinned square, preserved safe behind glass.
My greater work moved on, minding their own unique specifications,
And I no longer cross-stitch; its flat restrictions can’t satisfy.
Now I delight instead in six patterns, living, new, and finer far
Than I could ever make with mere needle, thread, and tiny x’s.