Luke (Poem)

Luke

For Ward Sykes Allen

In a rocker
On the porch of the Overseer’s House
Behind Stony Lonesome antebellum mansion
He overlooks a new century morning

Beside him
On a table matching his rocker
An open copy of the Authorized Version
His mind submissive to it and to the dawn

He has no abiding city
Living as he does on the farm
His earthly country
A place of horses, whole horses,
Not half-horses, abstracted into horsepower

They will come no more
These old men with beautiful manners
They will come no more

(“He’d stand up even if a dog came in the room.”)

He sits
In peace, knowing how
to go out and come in
Even in this, this so busy a century

Mindful of images
Of the concrete series of his own history
And his people’s—he knows where he comes from
And belongs where he is

He knows the sunlight in the treetops is deceptive,
As all of nature can be
But he will not let creation groan without
Engaging it in a dialogue of comfort;
And he knows more than he says

In a rocker
On the edge of eternity
The sky open above him
Waiting

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