Back in 2003 or 2004, I volunteered to write a couple of reflections for a Virginia Conference devotional called A Summer Read. One was a hymn about the sabbath called “On the Seventh Day God Rested and the other was a poem titled “Daughter.” When I wrote it, I had only been a father for a short while after the birth of my oldest daughter Ellen. Based upon Mark 7:24-37, it imagines the unfolding of Ellen’s life until she leaves home, a day that I thought at the time would come much, much less quickly than it has. I offer this as a meditation for Fathers’ Day.
What follows is the poem I read at Reveille United Methodist Church’s 5:30 Service of Lessons and Carols. I wrote it in August after hearing a radio reading of poetry by the late David Rakoff, whose style and humor influenced the form of this poem. It was designed for a service already filled with scripture, liturgy, and music, where a traditional sermon would not have worked. I hope you enjoy it. Merry Christmas.
It is quite hard to fathom all one can say,
when Sunday and Christmas Eve fall on the same day
to those who have gathered in prayer and song,
all hoping the service does not go too long.
Though some will stay home and tend to fam’ly,
while searching for batteries, double-A, C, and D.
Gideon (A Poem For My Nation)
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”