“Receive this Bible as a sign . . .” The Book of Common Prayer, 534
Younger than I by nearly forty years,
He stands for examination, then kneels,
The bishop laying hands upon the head
Of one who prays for strength to rise again,
Holding on tight to a Bible, the gift
A bishop gives to all whom God has called
To preach the Word and offer bread and wine.
Here in the pews, near three score years and ten,
I see myself—and not—in that young man,
For I was also called, ordained, my gift
Not given by a bishop but a voice
That left me with the silence of the page
And language from a common lexicon,
The Holy Spirit blessing grape and grain.