‘You spread your table before me…’

As the sun spreads its warmth
on the sleeping land—
As the crocus spreads her petals—
As the maples unfurl their leaves—
As the white pine flings its yellow pollen. . .

As the bees forage far and wide
seeking nectar for the hive—
As the mother duck spreads her wings
gathering her chicks—
As the sea spreads her glittering
waves wide around the shore…

It’s a high holiday so she spreads a cloth
across the scarred daily boards
where children eat and work and play.
A white cloth scattered with a riot
of flowers and butterflies.

First she places the braided bread-cross
with its four equal arms and, around
it, seven plates and their utensils—
the number of perfection, completion, wholeness,
rest. The meat and vegetables, the necessary
Brussels sprouts with bacon,
glasses of wine glowing in the light—
the feast full and flowing over.

They gather round the table, admiring the spread
And give thanks for food, family, faith.
And for the one whose love strewed the seeds,
watered the growth, and who finally spread
out his arms on the cross undoing death’s dominion.


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