A wise and pious man, in verse, once prayed
“Send not, send not, the rich empty away.”
For God—as virgin Mary sang in praise—
Has satisfied the longing of the poor
And filled the hungry with his gracious gifts,
And sent the rich away with empty mouths.
But we are rich—embarrassingly so.
The living Word stands at our fingertips,
As well as wisdom of long ages past
Preserved for us in volumes on our shelves,
The secrets of the universe laid bare,
And knowledge more than any man can know.
The least of us is clothed in finery
Beyond our fathers’ dreams of avarice,
And carried far and wide in speed and state,
Our daily health preserved and lives prolonged
By miracles we now think commonplace.
And all this comes in mercy from God’s hand,
Who does not treat us as our deeds deserve,
But pours out grace on evil, good alike—
But he is just as well as merciful
(And mercy without justice is no mercy),
And justice will not sleep until the end.
But mercy, Lord, have mercy—we are rich,
And have not used our riches as we ought;
Indeed, we have all but forgotten you
Who are both author of prosperity—
The owner of the world’s ten million hills
And all the cattle feeding there,
Whose wealth we, really, are but stewards of—
But also treasure more than all Earth holds.
If we do not have you, then all is naught.
Lord, we are rich, but send us not away!
I wrote this poem this week, prompted by the line “Send not the rich empty away!” (which appears several times in Taliessin Through Logres and The Region of the Summer Stars, and I think is in fact even the last line of the last poem of one of those collections) coming unexpectedly to mind, and bringing with it a train of thought about what the Bible says about God and the rich, and how even the poorest of us is, from a historical perspective, unimaginably rich.
As always, I earnestly welcome your (further) 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 (perhaps starting with those linked from one of the “archive ” installments, 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 this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.
This poem is also mirrored on my wiki.
- “Rain” (shinecycle.wordpress.com)