The Kernel (Lent Poems 3)

I’m doing my best to keep up with my rigorous poetry-writing schedule, and am currently working on today’s offering. However, here is a poem I prepared earlier (in January) which I intend to include when I put my Lent poems together. It fits better into the narrative flow than the poem for today – so here it is.

The Kernel
(John 12:20-33)
An insect buzzed around Andrew’s head
And the words of the Master made a similar sound,
Humming round and round in the noonday bustle,
My countrymen still waiting somewhere in the sidelines,
Our question not really answered,
The issue – as always – made a little less than clear.
Had he heard, or taken in, our request?
They had phrased it so simply –
Sir, we would like to see Jesus
But protocol had somewhat baffled me;
They had come to me for ease of access: the face of a stranger
Somehow familiar, in a sea of unfamiliarity,
But I did not hold the clout, never did,
And so turned to Andrew who, it seemed to me, did,
But together we got nothing clearer.
Only this made sense: The hour has come
For the Son of Man to be glorified.
Yes, that much was clear.
But with budding fans
In the background, he did as he always did:
Taught us that which we could not see,
In words and figures which we could not grasp:
Unless a kernel of wheat falls to soil,
It remains only a single seed.
The image I knew; I had seen kernels
Sewn in the soil, and had seen harvests
Burst forth in vast, bright golden splendour.
But harvests of wheat? This wasn’t the time
For a lesson in wheat-growth. There were some men
In the fields, waiting, ripe to be reaped.
He lost me, I think, after the seeds,
The buzzing insect now down Andrew’s arm,
My new friends in the distance, checking their watches,
The Master pausing, once again, to pray.
Now my heart is troubled, he said; but why he did
I was, myself, too troubled to hear or understand,
And only the voice of thunder above could snap me
From my impatience, the anxiety of waiting,
And the buzz of the fly, or whatever it was –
I have glorified my name; I will glorify it again
The crowd in hysterics, and the Master aglow
With the glory of the moment and the height of his call
And, his eyes lifted up to the heavenly source
Of the voice that had thundered, they seemed then to shine
With the tears that I had hardly noticed him crying,
And in the glow of the teardrop, I fancied I saw,
Two pieces of wood, crossed one on another,
And the glorious Son lifted up on each one.

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