The Parable of the Vineyard


                         It’s said his last words were
Unto the uttermost part of the earth,
                                           My place of birth,
                                           And standing there,
                         I gaze upon a cloud
And wish to high heaven that he’d come out.
                         I look steadfastly on
His witnesses: clear windows fused with light
                                           And heads long gone
                                           By walls washed white,
                         And wish the flèche-consuming holy ghost,
The flames of Pentecost,
                         Would fuel my utterance too.
I lean on my dormer window to listen for
                                           Your foot on the floor,
                                           But there’s no shoe-
                         Less hymn this May Day morn,
Just ring road traffic taking the wings of dawn.
                         What is this house that I’ve
Made up for you just by my living in it?
                                           Were you alive,
                                           Would it be finished?
                     You went to a far country for a long time,
But left us this stone, and lime.

Edward Clarke

Edward Clarke teaches English literature and creative writing at various colleges and the Department for Continuing Education, Oxford University. His book, The Later Affluence of W. B. Yeats and Wallace Stevens was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012. He has recently published his cycle of poems in response to his experience of reading the Psalter through once every month according to Cranmer’s divisions in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer. A Book of Psalms is now available from Paraclete Press.

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