All my words hang on a promise I cannot make
and cannot keep – a vanity of imagination,
breath and blood, if the promise has no maker;
if the promise has no keeper.
Shall I continue, o Lord, to tap out
Your timeworn promise on my alphabet board?
Grace, love, salvation – fine sentiments!
but, paper-thin words, and – through my throat –
without substance or luminosity;
indistinct stirrings in the half-light,
the nether-world, the darkness
of ignorance mixed with the darkness of faith;
yet, I praise the promise and the Promise-keeper!
Lord, don’t leave me
twisting wordlessly in the wind
at world’s end but, gather me sweetly
in Your arms and make good, make good,
make good Your ancient-given promise.
O child of God, what the Beloved requires of you
is faith, forbearance, obedience and attempted artistry.
(from A Jewel in the Dust)