First Things Last (After “Incorrigible Grace”)

For my next response to Les Murray’s poetry, I’ve chosen a deceptively simple four-line poem as my starting point. I suspect Murray’s poem speaks for itself. I hope that mine does too.

First Things Last
(After “Incorrigible Grace”)

Saint Vincent de Paul, old friend,
my sometime tailor,
I daresay by now you are feeding
the rich in heaven.
(Les Murray, “Incorrigible Grace”)


Grace gives surprise, like sunshine reversing floods,

like the plenty of a crop we did not sow,

a brown trickle amidst faithless dirt,

or tears that wash unbelief to the ground;


like a home found, unexpectedly, on Samaritan turf,

a harvest of smiles when we have paid only in frowns,

the mercy of a hefty but finite price for carelessness,

of lessons learnt in coins, not in souls;


or like the men who wait at the platform, tablets poised

beneath their noses, soon to learn

from the woman in the beanie with

absolutely nothing to her name.

Published by Matthew Pullar

Teacher, writer, blogger, husband, father, Christian. Living in Wyndham in Melbourne's west, on the land of the Kulin Nation. Searching for words to console and feed hearts and souls.

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