The Prophet


There was a man with dreams

showing, with dreams

growing on his open face.  He said,

I have something to tell

you.  Let the prisoners

rise, let the blind,

find eyes, because I have a

message.  I found it in a flower blowing

at the edge of the world, or

in my own head—just knowing.

The message is: Don’t suffer.

I want to suffer for you, instead.


The sick came close, with hope

in their eyes.  The suffering crowded

to the shore, made wise

by their despair.  But others called,

Who are you to talk so! You, the

poor son of a carpenter.


To get away from the crowd, he backed

down into a boat.  Seems, said he, to the

fisherman aboard, as if only a stranger

can believe in me (kid born in a manger,

after all.)  A prophet, I have found,

isn’t one in his home town.  Has to live

alone, sleep like Jacob on a stone, maybe

be seen far off to be believed.


Did he wonder at that time what would

happen to the man, inside?  Because not

even forty days and forty nights had

taken away the man he was.  I think he

wondered on Geneserett (let down, Simon,

your empty net, your great net—let it

down) at how alone a man must get, at how

his faults must hide, and that they call

him man at last—only to deride.