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John Howard Reid

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Another Boring Day
by John Howard Reid

Saturday, May 09, 2009
Rated "G" by the Author.
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Recent poems by John Howard Reid
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           >> View all 155

The hardcover edition of "Across the Long Bridge" contains 134 poems. 120 of these poems are drawn from the winning and commended entries of the annual Tom Howard Poetry Contest for Verse In All Styles and Genres and of the annual Margaret Reid Prize for Traditional Verse. The remaining 14 poems in this book were composed by Professor Dee C. Konrad and myself. I should point out that the purpose of an anthology like "Across the Long Bridge" is not only to showcase the splendid work of the winning and commended poets, but to serve as a guide to intending contestants who can determine right away whether these contests would be suitable for their own contributions. If you write "university poetry", for instance, you can tell straight off that neither contest values such verse. On the other hand, if you are unacquainted with "university poetry", both contests would welcome your entries.


 

Another Boring Day 

by John Howard Reid

 

Another boring day on the road.

Even Yeshua is tired.

 

There is an end to miracles after all.

A time when hands will no longer conjure healing,

when temp-tied tongue no longer summons angels,

when droopy eyes no longer see blind or lame,

and numbed ears hear no cries for help.

 

A time when brain and body no longer respond

to the coaxing rein of the Spirit.

 

Not all the prompting of the Spirit’s whisper

can breathe life into lazy, languid limbs

or kindle one spark in a glazed eye.

 

Yeshua is angry with Himself.

He resents the body’s sudden surge of supremacy,

its excuse of hunger, its deceits of weaning

weariness, the subtle birth of sleep.

 

A crowd has gathered in the forecourt.

I, bold Peter, try to send them away.

But they are too keyed up for miracles.

Too keen. Too hungry. Too expectant.

They refuse to go.

 

I, no-nonsense Peter, tell them plain and sweet:

“The master is worn down from head to feet.

So exhausted he can neither chew a grain of wheat

nor purse his lips for a single morsel of meat.”

 

I plead in vain. His own words hurl back upon me:

“What needs cannot be met by God?” they all agree.

“Wake the master, stubborn Peter! You will see.”

 

Herod’s choice! I hunt up Judas from our healer’s throng.

Together, we lay hold of his shoulders hard and strong

until at last he rouses. “Master, master, come along!

Crowds cry for cures and comfort. Come along!”

 

“Is the Son of Man to have no plan

to eat or sleep? Must questions deep

afflict his heart, tear his soul apart

day and night? Is it wrong, is it right

that sick and seeking be hourly blessed?

Shall the honored guest enjoy no rest?”

 

“You have elected your own destiny, master,

posed your own conundrums, unraveled 

your own riddle. You have no choice

but to obey whatever thoughts

form in your mind.” It was

Judas, always the seer

who knew all the

answers, but

rarely the

question.

 

“And thus, Judas, am I less a man

for forming such selfless healings

and then bringing them to pass?”

 

“No, master.”

“Am I less a man because I call

upon God to revive my soul

and renew my strength?”

 

“Yes, master.”

 

“Yes, Judas?”

 

“Because God answers you, Yeshua, 

straight off. Instantly. Not next week, next

month, next year or never at all. Do you dare to

compare the man who has instant access to the throne

to the beggar who lies in the arch of the gate, bound in body,

soul and spirit to the flesh that encases his mind? Do I too not wish

to heal the broken-hearted, overpower the jailer and set the captives free?”

 

Yeshua bit his lip until it bled. He stared at us in stony silence, his

lips red with blood. I held a face cloth to his lips to staunch

the flood, but when it fell away, the cloth was clean.

“Why not answer him, master?” I boldly asked

as soon as Judas left to prepare the crowd.

 

“What has passed, is past. Its memory

is often agony enough.  What man

but the Son of Man should know

what his future serves? No!

Its terrors weigh down

his soul. He is no

longer whole

but a prey

to horror

beyond

belief.” 

John Howard Reid
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