Saturday, 20 December 2014

Simple Gifts for a King

When as a child I came into the world
Helpless and lying in a draughty shed
Your wisest men, they say, brought gifts to me:
Of gold - for crowning of an infant King;
And frankincense - for raising prayers to him;
And myrrh - portending burial and death.

But would you bring me gifts like this today,
And lavish me with costly offerings?
I would instead you follow me and let
Me show you where I make my dwelling place.

See this naked child, starving in the sun
Witness his ribs etched starkly on his skin
See his swollen belly, and how his eyes
Ignore the soft caresses of the flies.

I am that child. Today I live in him.
Each pain, each pang each gasp is also mine.
I would have you bring not crowns of gold
But food and water, simple gifts for a King

For when you nourish him, you nourish me.

And see the tramp who shivers by the door
Frozen from the night spent on the streets.
So will you offer up a prayer for him
That floats to heaven on a mystic scent?
I am that man, today I live in him
I feel the winters cold as much as he
I would have you learn from this young woman
Whose arms envelop him with love and warmth.
From here no fragrant scent but stench arises
From tattered socks and clothes infused with grime.

But when you love him, so you love me too.

Witness this teenage girl who falls apart
Imprisoned by the blackness in her brain
And see the scars that tell of her despair
Her sorrow, sighing, bleeding, dying, and
The bitter scent of death her only light.

And would you bury her with costly spice
Those wise men long ago saw as my fate?

I am that girl, her sorrow overwhelms
Me too.  I want this bitter cup to pass
I would rather have you bring the simple gift
Of being there for her - to walk beside
A mile or two and listen for a while

For when you walk with her, you walk with me.

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