Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Sweeper: a Parable





She filled the house with clouds enough to choke
all thoughts but this: “My coin is lost and must
be found! My last!” She lit the lamp, and woke
a dancing chorus of more blinding dust.
She swept in vain until a flicker caught
a hint of gold half hidden by old oak
where shelves well laden with what she had bought
bowed to the ground and moaned and all but broke
beneath their burden.
Overjoyed, she heard
a voice she knew. “What goods your wealth has brought!
What did they cost? Whose face is that upon
the coin you lost and in such frenzy sought?”
She looked. The face was hers. “And whose is drawn
upon the other side?” She looked once more.
The second face was his.
She flung the door
wide open, called her friends to celebrate
her find. She gave them gladly all her store
of precious treasures. When the hour grew late
she found the empty shelves and clean-swept floor
filled her with joy she had not known before.
One thing remained. She did not want to wait.
She went at once in haste to throw her last
best coin into the Temple treasury.
He watched her, knowing what this final fast
had cost --and bought.
She went home free.

©2009, Abbey of St. Walburga

Beware: this poem combines several New Testament passages--Luke 15:8-9; Matthew 22:20; Mark 10:17-21, 12:41-44, to be exact--and in doing so, changes the message of several of them, but stays within the general framework of the gospel, I think. I hope this won't get my poetic license revoked!