Note: This turns out to be a first draft. Who says you ever finish a poem? Why isn’t ‘done’? Well, I’m trying to do too much, especially with 14 lines.
This sonnet takes its imagining from Luke 6 when the Pharisees’ charge that Jesus and his disciples are doing what is unlawful on the sabbath by picking heads of grain as they walk.
There are a couple of thoughts I am teasing out. One has to do with a memory of an evening in which I was traveling by car after a weather front had passed through. My route took me through a rural part of the county where the golden, winter wheat was about ready to be harvested. The wind was blowing waves across the grain and the shadow of clouds moved across the fields with the waves. It was beautiful, and that memory stays with me.
Secondly, with the wind there is the Spirit. You will recall that in biblical times both Greek and Hebrew words for “wind” and “spirit” are the same. In this encounter, there are definite spirits at work. There is the spirit in which those who are moved to walk and talk with Jesus and who are hungry for more, even as they are hungry at the end of the day. The Pharisees are of another spirit as they use the Law to control and manage themselves, others, and particularly, blessing. I would say The Spirit is the difference.
In regard to the sonnet’s form, it is a Spenserian sonnet. It’s a form I am trying to learn, and its rhyme scheme is challenging. So here’s to taking a swing at it.
Luke 6:1-5 reads,
On a Sabbath, while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. 2 But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” 3 And Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?” 5 And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”
An easy Sabbath walk in the lengthened light
Of evening wading through a sea of wheat,
The wind swells, a cloud’s shadow in flight
Crosses the field where we’ve gathered to meet.
Retreating from the village’s heat
To the One who left us hung’ring for more
Our bellies are talking, so the grain we eat
Rubbing kernels free on this threshing floor.
Feeding on His words, whose seeds grow, restore;
The Spirit blows the scribe’s grumbling chaff away
As fullness rushes to us, blows open the door
Gives the bread of his presence does not delay
Tells us, sit down, tells us, we are the blessed
Who’ve hungered and thirsted, sought out his rest.
© Randy Edwards 2017. This sonnet is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks
Artwork: Gustave Dore