Two Coins by Dispatch
resisting the iron fist
which reaps where it did not sow:
give us courage to accept
your faith in us
and compassion to stand
with all who are cast aside;
through Jesus Christ, who became so that we might have everything.
[They inherit a packet of earth]
by Sherwin Bitsui
They inherit a packet of earth
hear its coins clank in a tin box
push them aside
reap thick strands of night from thinning black hair.
They climb the staircase clenching branches of pens filled with ducks’ blood
and follow the butcher’s bed into this room-
goose feathers thorning out of their eyes.
They promise to never look down again
down is just a speck of globe dust
just coins clanking in the tin box.
—Caledonia County, Vermont
by Sydney Lea
Why not write something for those
who scratched out improbable livings here?
Someone has managed to sow
This broken field with stones, it appears,
So someone’s scratching it still,
Although that Japanese knotweed has edged
The tilth. Two wasps in the child
Attempt to catch sun on a rail of the bridge.
The old local doctor has passed
At almost a full decade past ninety.
He never seemed depressed.
Seventy now, if barely,
I consider the field again:
Someone will drag these rocks away
But they’ll be back. The air smells like rain,
Which is fine, the summer’s been much too dry.
Nothing is left of the barn
But some rusty steel straps in some nasty red osier.
The stone fence still looks sound,
But even there the knotweed steps over.
Hadn’t I pledged an elegy
To the old ones who worked here? You couldn’t claim
They thrived, exactly, but maybe
They likewise scented good wind full of rain,
Lifted eyes above this old orchard
To the cloud-darkened hills and found their support
Somehow, somewhere. No matter,
They kept going until they could go no more.
The trees’ puckered apples have gathered
A flock of birds, and as they alight,
They’re full of unseasonable chatter,
As if to say that all will be right.
The old ones I promised a poem
Must have said it too. It’ll be all right.
I never knew them. They’re gone.
I say it out loud, It’ll be all right.
“The kindom of heaven is like a wealthy landowner who was leaving on a journey and called in three workers, entrusting some possessions to them. The first was given five valuable coins, the second two, and the third one, according to each one’s ability. Then the landowner went away.
“Immediately, the worker who had five valuable coins took them and went to work doing business with them, gaining five more. In the same way, the one who had two valuable coins gained two more. But the worker who had received the one valuable coin dug a hole in the ground and buried the money.
“Now after a long time the landowner returned and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five valuable coins came forward with five additional coins, saying, ‘You entrusted me with five valuable coins. Look, I’ve gained five more.’
“The landowner replied, ‘Excellent! You are a good and faithful worker! You’ve been faithful over a little. I’ll put you in charge of much. Come, celebrate with me.’
“The second worker also came forward and said, ‘You entrusted me with two valuable coins. Look, I’ve gained two more.’
“The landowner replied, ‘Well done! You are a good and faithful worker. You’ve been faithful over a little. I’ll put you in charge of much. Come, celebrate with me.’
“Now the one who had received one valuable coin came and said, ‘Knowing your ruthlessness – you reap where you did not sow and gather where you did not scatter- and fearing your wrath, I hid my valuable coin in the ground. Here is your coin back.’
“The landowner exclaimed, ‘You evil and lazy lout! So you know that I reap where I don’t sow and gather where I don’t scatter, do you? In that case, you should have turned my money over to the bankers so that when I returned, you could give me what belonged to me with interest. You there! Take the coin away and give it to the one who has ten coins. Those who have much will receive more, and they will have more than they need. But as for those who don’t have much, even the little bit they have will be taken away from them. Now take this worthless one outside into the darkness.’
“People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.”
Bury it by Chvrches
from Singapore Church Missionary Society, adapted
God stir the soil
Run the ploughshare deep,
Cut the furrows round and round,
Overturn the hard, dry ground,
Spare no strength nor toil
Even if we weep.
In the loose, fresh-mangled earth
Sow new seed.
Free of withered vine and weed
Bring fair flowers to birth.
The Lord’s Prayer
Blessed be your working;
Soon be your appearing;
Done be your desiring.
Our bread provide us;
Our debts forgive us;
From trials free us.
Faithful to Me by Jennifer Knapp
May God give us to drink of God’s cup;
may the sun be bright upon us;
may the night call down peace;
and when we come to God’s household
may the door be open wide
for us to go in to our joy.
And may the blessing of God – the Creator, the Saviour, and the Sanctifier,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.