NW POETRY PRESENTS:

"Ballad of the Almost Sailed,"

by Eben

Dedicated to a pastor who labored humbly and faithfull as a church's shepherd in a small, obscure country parish in the Puyallup, Washington area until he died on the job, right in a church service.

Pastor, I remember you,

though the times we talked were few!

I was only twelve years old,

friendless, frightened, and so cold.

I stole your pen right in the church,

but you invited me to search.

You never showed it was a lie

when I said , "It's lost? Oh, my!"

When I "found" it, still no sign;

you thanked me for my help and time.

Then at a church youth picnic,

your face looked strained, pale, sick.

You asked me how things were with me.

I shrank away, your eyes might see!

Your parish was our country church--

no stepping stone, no bishop's perch!

Yet you gave no sign at all

that we were sheep grown hard to call.

As you preached I daydreamed far

across the world in a sportscar.

Then one time I heard you speak

of Heaven's shore and Zion's peak.

Your eyes, they shone bright as you spoke.

You rowed your boat as cold waves broke.

"Now launch forth!" you cried to us,

and suddenly there was a fuss.

That was the last I saw of you,

as they carried you from view.

The years have passed, I've turned your age.

Am I writing my last page?

I stand now at the water's edge.

Cold waves break beneath this ledge.

I cannot see a single gleam

of Mount Zion's golden belam.

How can I launch forth in the deep?

I chose this life to love and keep.

Pastor, Pastor, in your boat

that could hardly sail or float,

did you reach bright Heaven's shore?

Tell me, Pastor, what's faith for?

Tell me, Pastor, one time more.

*************

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