THE MIRACLE SONGS
BY WILSON MACDONALD
By Wilson MacDonald
Published November, 1921
All rights reserved
Mr. Wilson MacDonald is already well-known to students of Canadian verse through his volume The Song of the Prairie Land, published in 1918, and also through various poems which have appeared from time to time in magazines in Canada and abroad. The poem, The Miracle Songs of Jesus, hitherto unpublished, shows Mr. MacDonald's distinguished gift in a new form, and will be welcomed as an important contribution to religious verse.
THE MIRACLE SONGS OF JESUS
Jesus, the poet of Galilee,
Fashioned the light in His lyric hands,
And held it up for all men to see:
The Publican and the Pharisee,
The merchant rich and the robber bands
On the outcast fringe of Galilee.
But all of the wise men sneered at Him;
And the gay young fellows jeered at Him;
And only a fisherman fool or two
Looked up at the Light with its liquid hue
And drank its beauty of red and blue.
Jesus, the poet of Galilee,
Sang that the weary might be free;
Sang of the lilies—how their glory
Shamed the best at a king's command;
Sang His truths in a lyric story
Even the poor could understand.
And the wise men heard and they tried to scan
The rhymes of the poet Son-of-Man.
But, every time that He sang, they found
Some cherished rule of their pedant school
Was killed in his poem's strange, new sound.
And Jesus, the poet, grew sick at heart
And fled from the halls where learning kills;
And took His verse from the fear of art
To the bold delight of the rain-washed hills.
And the songs He sang to the desert sea
Were far too sweet for the ears of men;
But the gray-white dunes of Galilee
Have blown with a fairer flower since then.
A learned group of dons will gloat
At a fool's last word in a high priest's throat.
But the song of God in a Carpenter's saw
Could never hold wise men in awe.
And whenever Christ, the bard, would sing
They lost His truth in a hammer's ring.
The wilderness called with her silent lure:
"O poet of thoughtless Nazareth
Come out to me with your starry breath."
And His white reed yearned for the moon-chilled sands
Where the frayed flowers cure
With their gypsy hands.
But He turned His face
From the silent place,
With the comrade stars above,
As we all have done,
As we all have done
From a maid we dare not love.
And the silent desert called again:
"O poet of thoughtless Nazareth,
Come out to me with your fragrant breath,
And walk with me in the moon's white rain."
But a blind man's stick on a hollow stone,
As it slowly tapped through a distant city,
And a broken woman's hopeless moan
Called out to Him with a deeper tone;
And the heart of the Lord was pity.
And back to the town the poet came,
And took His feet to the temple's hall,
And heard the boast of a man named Saul;
And He heard Saul mock,
In a fiery tongue,
The sweetest songs which His heart had sung.
But Jesus of Nazareth, then and there,
Could scarce forbear
From a fond embrace,
Knowing the beauty the man should wear
At another time, in another place.
The critics were many in Jesus' day;
And His songs were scorned by the caustic pen.
He did not write in the Grecian way;
And He knew not how to preach or pray
In a way approved of men.