The Love of God - Intercollegiate Studies Institute

The Love of God

This poem appears in the Summer 2018 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe now, go here.

For He sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

     We learn the love of God from wind & rain.
     On him who has sufficiency the Giver
     Decants a flood—the bony arid plain
     Sees loaded clouds rush past to gift the river.
                 To south, rain favors east—
                 To north, the west;
                 Man’s merit matters least—
                 The place is blessed.
     The bird-bath dry, we ask if God marks right—
     The ripe hay soaked, we cry He coddles crime.
     Say rather God is chary to indict,
     Allowing place & chance to life & time.
     We learn the love of God from wind & rain.

     We learn God’s mercy from the mold & rust;
     Our dust & bracken thicken mile by hour.
     We view our tiny rescuers with disgust,
     Fleeing our shame & stink with shave & shower.
                 Dung beetles roll brown balls—
                 Mites eat our slough—
                 Worms turn the litterfalls
                 To earthy duff.
     Mistake & sin should stifle us, but dirt
     Grants space & air to those who wear the boot,
     Who wear their fortune easy as a shirt,
     Who pick & peel the worm’s death as a fruit.
     We learn God’s mercy from the mold & rust.

     We learn God’s patience in the random things:
     A comet’s lifetime cycle out of sight—
     The seventeen winters’ pause for locust wings—
     Kadupul flower that blooms one hour at night.
                 Rare chances we cannot
                 Disrupt the fated lot
                 That we await.                          
     If buds sleep tens or centuries of years
     To wake a Buddha or an Andes Queen,
     What lotus-wonder grows among my fears
     To grace with white the 3rd millennium green?
     We learn God’s patience in the random things.

     We seize the day & charter hours like kings
     But learn God’s patience in the random things.

     We cast our skins & clog our steps with dust
     But learn God’s mercy in the mold & rust.

     See greener grass but tenant your demesne—
     Husband your dew & irrigate the pain—
     And learn the love of God in wind & rain.

Ruth A. Johnston is the author of A Companion to Beowulf, All Things Medieval, and Re-Modeling the Mind. Her poetry has also appeared in Measure.

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