Friday, March 8, 2024

What Do You Think of God and What Does God Think of You?

Your grandfather’s sermon
Printed as a leaflet,
Photograph of his face

Smiling on the first sheet
Right under the title,
Saved by your grandmother

For the half-century
Of her widowhood once
He’d died at forty-five—

How devoted of her,
And how cheeky of him,
Sermon title like that,

What does God think of you?
To presume you don’t know,
But he, country preacher

From rural New England,
Knows what God thinks of you
And will enlighten you.

God’s mind’s a drafty manse
To rural Protestants.
Anyone can wander

Inside, Bible in hand,
And start speculating
On the moldy contents,

Then get down to preaching,
Arguing, and splitting
Splintered congregations.

He farmed a few acres
To make ends meet when tithes
And donations couldn’t,

And you never knew him—
Not even your mother
Could ever have known him,

Dead three months before
She was born—but you think
You can imagine him,

Milking the cow, working
The plow, composing thoughts
Knowing the thoughts of God.

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