Beside Still Waters

Fragile she sat with words a still acceptance of my
      Longing battered soul – not strong in fight but
            Present depth of quiet being.

I dared not move or breathe lest I should break the spell
      And lose this wisp of heaven here on earth
            Returning all to grim realities of
                  Struggle to survive.

She asked again – I spoke of tumult in
      The sweep throughout the gorge – the gasps for air
            Amidst the foam and spray –
                  The frantic clinging to the slippery rocks
                        That smashed the forward flow –
                              The swirling eddies’ short respite
                                   'Fore dashing hopes relentless in the push.

And what had brought about this shift
      From quiet paddling venture gone so greatly wrong –
            I told her, like I’d told the rest – and
                  Like I’ve told the others since –
                        But this was different – then, and looking back --
                              A touch of Him amidst the swirling boil –

Long days ago a Prison Chaplain queried from the
      Grime of keepers and the kept – “my brothers’ keeper? –
            No, my brothers’ brother – sisters’ too – and
                  Best we do not loose that vision of our Lord” –

Six weeks he walked me through the doors
      Of others of his kin – exposed me
            To his strength of hope – integrity within.

When done he said, “the choice is yours – which
      Type you’re going to be – but everywhere you go
            You’ll find rare jewels such as these.”

Then looking up I watched again this sun-dried reed that rocked
      In gentle breeze,
            Heard hum of bees,
                   Bright goldenrod,
                         Foam bubbles lap
                              Shaled crevices
                                    Of pungent Cambrian rock.

She gestured to the widened gorge
      Emerged to quiet lake
            “It’s over now,
                  Restore thy soul,
                       Even for His own Name’s sake.”