The Preacher


On Wednesday evenings, the gown came off;

Rolled sleeves over thick muscled arms

And all action and mobility to replace

The studied stillness of ceremony.

He stepped across the absurd; he linked

Greek texts and robust boyhood games,

The solemnity of sickness, and the kind

Acceptance of homeliness.
No dilettante, he could draw the sweat

From wells of rough vigour, that oiled

The pit gears and steel rails of industry.

His was a muscular Christianity

Built on taut tendons of logic,

Steeled with linguistic rigour, rooted

In finely sieved history, earthed

In clear explanatory consonants.
These twin towers of rigour and vigour

Loom, still unscalable to this child,

But solid, firmly set in truthfulness.

I tie myself to them, hoping to cling

On, as currents of the mundane sweep

Through, as mortality stifles my dreams.
Can I let go? Can I believe in tears,

Weakness and the gift of loss and sadness

To germinate the seeds of creation.


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