“Famine”

Illustrative image by Wikimedia user Bidgee

The forests pant; the grasses faint with thirst;
The wells and aquifers will soon run dry;
The mountain brooks, no longer burbling, walk
Rather than run (when they can move at all).
But bread remains, awhile, abundant here,
And hunger’s overtaken but a few—
Yet drought of rain, like this, is but the symptom,
Not the cause; our true condition’s worse,
And who has recognized the malady?
As scarcity and want now lie in wait
For field and hill and woodland, man and beast,
For many years the word—by which man lives—
Has been but rarely preached, and rarely heard,
Because, in plenty, we did not obey.
Oh, that the heavens above would open up
And drop the dew and rain—water the earth—
But let us pray with yet more fervor still
That God relent, and turn his face toward us,
And end the hearing-famine of the word.

This came to me earlier this week, in stages, as I thought meditatively about our lawn and the weather we’ve been having(even after a few inches of rain the last few weeks, probably more than we’ve had the rest of the summer, most of the grass is still brown, and I know that we’ve come off very lightly compared to other areas of the country) and Scripture passages about famine, drought, and fire that I’ve read recently.

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you liked this poem, or you didn’t like it, or it made you think of something, or … please leave a comment to let me know.) If you liked this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems every Friday, or read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (starting with yesterday’s archive installment, since the full archive is by now, at well over a hundred poems, somewhat daunting); I’d especially like to know, as part of my preparations for a collection, which poems you think are my best. You may also share it with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also archived on my wiki.

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3 thoughts on ““Famine”

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