December 23, 2018 — prayer from “I wonder as I wander …”


“… Jesus the Savior did come for to die for poor on’ry people like you and like I…”
“I wonder as I wander” John Jacob Niles, folks song collector — from Annie Morgan in Murphy, North Carolina

God, you could call for a star,
speak a bird’s wisdom,
conduct the philharmonic angels,

and yet you have come
for ordinary people –
the ones who are running away from you
just as fast as they can run,
the ones who don’t want to look in the mirror,

Annie Morgan in her dirty dress,
singing her fragment of song seven times
each to earn a quarter,
Niles who wanted to collect the songs
of people who might never write,

my daddy whose family made moonshine
near there, and sang it aloud every year,
arms wore out from carrying
that tune in a bucket,
the contralto who knows
the beauty of holding every note,

one who performs saleh five times a day,
a faithful Buddhist, a Jain,

all of us —
children with ordinary lives
and the very small songs,
you are collecting in your wide open love.

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2 Responses to December 23, 2018 — prayer from “I wonder as I wander …”

  1. Christine says:

    Elizabeth and Christine Mary

    The child in me is growing love
    For these old women
    To visit in their hill country
    High above the old life they led
    To sit and talk in low and slow voices
    Of the lights of their lives
    And deep mournings and afterwards

    To hold the photos of their lost loves
    And say their names and share tears

    I have lived too long
    They say, with no idea of their worth in the now
    Their gift to the youngsters

    Mellowness like nectarine juice
    Glowing like cherries
    Or a fresh coating of snow that ‘simplifies’ the landscape

    We hold hands to pray
    And the child in them moves with joy
    To the child in me growing

    Precious one
    that you are

    23 December 2018

    Some of my congregation now live in the nearby ‘aged care facility’. A contemplative meditation on Mary and Elizabeth.
    thank you for the series of writings on “Not the first line” of carols. Very evocative.
    Blessings to you and thanks for a year’s worth of contemplation and joy.

  2. Maren says:

    Thank you so much for these beautiful words.

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