Song to the Lord of the Vineyard

Song to the Lord of the Vineyard

for H.K.S.

I have carved thee upon my soul,

O Lord of this rustling place.

And here, upon this bowing limb, this breaking heart

I set the seal of Heaven,

and I am formed, and framed, and each leaf counted.


And throwing green hair back I exult

with eyelids orange in the sun, and I sing.

mossy with music and surging with sap, I sing,

cannot be kept from singing.

amazed, reply with arms-wide yes - 

to the heart of my own ringed, widening heart. 


In the rough of brown earth, where knowledge began,

where nurture began, I delve with spreading toe unseen,

slowly breaking clay and rock, slowly

reaching roots-wide yes. Slowly raising

this trunk of my trunk, bending but never bent.


The chaos and storms that have shaken me!

Sent me quivering to the roots.

My leaves shake and fall, my twigs break in the black sky

my delved foot slips as I cry -


But always, dear Master of furrow and plow,

I am reached, braced, borne up,


and by thee, and for thee,

I am slowly thus made

a sheltering home, carved forever

in Thy likeness.


I watched before time a red corner of this own garden

another tree, ringed and broken,

and set on a skull-hill.

And there Thou hung, my own vineyard's Lord,

broken, in blood, and body, and finished.

All our leaves and all our tears rained that day, gasping in sorrow

and breath-held hope.


But now - now in this same garden’s quiet

Sabbath corner,

with listening leaf and witnessing bough,

we of the Vineyard see a rolled stone,

and greet an empty grave. 


So Before his scarred feet I bow my creaking knees, 

my awed silence pruning words of grief

into resolve, 

that His giving, hanging, breaking, tending

will not go unattended.


And my tree-soul straightens, 

remembering sap-deep,

and with low, rustling anthem

that my work - leaf and branch - is now this: 

ever delving, ever reaching

to make of this my bark, my root my worshipping leaf,

An arrow to the to sky he returns to.

-Jessica Sprague