Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wadi Cherith

In honor of St. John of the Cross, today.

Wadi Cherith
Thin water ripples on the shingle,
shatters the sun, yellow sparkling
swells slap the dark strand and vanish
drawn into the desert heart.

You sit in the shadow of the overhang
and wait the word from on high
that tells you the mission has begun,
the time has at last rolled round
to begin whatever God has planned.

Had you known then of the prophets
of Ba'al, had you seen the challenge
of Ahab, had you seen the night cave
where you heard the sounds of God,
would you have fled? Running through
the desert like another madman,
another who would come to bathe
in the Jordan and cause others also
to be made clean.

                    And like another
who also would feed the hungry
with endless food from nothing?
     What would you have done?

          Isn't it better this way, alone
     in the desert fed by carrion birds
          and resting in the shade?
     Better the silence of God
     sometimes than His speech.

© 2002 Steven Riddle


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