Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Third Dance of Christmas: A Fiddle Dance for St. John's Day


              The Third Dance of Christmas: A Fiddle Dance for St. John's Day

Sweet Saint John was a dancer
on the shore of old Capernaum
a lovely boy not fit for fishing,
carpentry, or marrying.
They tell he left his empty boat
for the sake of the bold young fellow
who looked at him one April morn
and said, my love, come follow.

Saint John said yes, he left his nets
and the rest of life seemed hollow,
compared to the love of the wild-eyed boy
who said, my love, come follow.

John saw the hungry eat their fill,
saw the sinful girl forgiven.
He saw the hardened hearts of men
flow freely with compassion.
He saw the one he loved so dear,
betrayed and shamed and tortured,
by those who could not hear the word
of the awful grace he offered.
 

Saint John said yes, he left his nets
and the rest of life seemed hollow
compared to the love of the wild-eyed boy
who said, my love, come follow.

On the twenty-seventh of December
we remember his devotion,
his courage, and his faithfulness,
and his delicate emotion.
Rare visions he was said to have,
Deep mysteries he expounded.
But we love his love for the lovely one
whose love sweet John astounded.

Saint John said yes, he left his nets
and the rest of life seemed hollow
compared to the love of the wild-eyed god
who said, my love, come follow,
compared to the love of the lovely one
who says, my love, come follow.

(long instrumental reel, with difficult but frenzied dance without irony should follow)

3 comments:

  1. Your poem is beautiful! I included a link to it in my article for John's feast day at the Jesus in Love Blog on LGBT spirituality and the arts:
    John the Evangelist: Beloved Disciple of Jesus
    Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Just a note to thank you for posting the reference & link to this poem in your Jesus in Love Blog. I thoroughly enjoyed that article, and of course, it's what led me here.

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  2. I enjoyed the poem! I'm not a deeply religious person, but throughout my upbringing, the intimate relationship between Jonathan & David and between Jesus & the Beloved could not have been clearer. You've captured that essence beautifully with your poem.

    On Friday, my partner (23 years!) and I are getting married in Houston. We live very near a city park with large oak trees and a set of human-shaped sculptures called "Tolerance," on Buffalo Bayou and in the shadow of the Houston skyline.

    Our ceremony will be very brief with only a handful of friends attending, but we have incorporated a few rituals and passages that relate to same-sex unions of past cultures, including Christianity, for well over a thousand years.
    One example comes from a 12th century document archived at the Vatican (translated from Latin): "Send down, most kind Lord, the grace of Thy Holy Spirit upon these Thy servants, whom Thou hast found worthy to be united not by nature but by faith and a holy spirit. Grant unto them Thy grace to love each other in joy without injury or hatred all the days of their lives."

    We have other references to the "sacred covenant" between Jonathan & David from 1 & 2 Samuel.

    With your permission, I'd like to include the last six lines of your poem in our ceremony. (I'm a classically trained pianist; I could set this to music -- at least the refrain -- if you wanted.)

    Our ceremony will be pretty much a private affair, but I may ultimately post bits & pieces on Facebook & other social media. Certainly if I reference your poem, I would provide attribution & the link back to this source, unless there is a different source/link you would prefer that I make attribution to.

    Thank you for the beautiful imagery - and thanks to Kittredge Cherry, whose blogpost brought me to this place.

    Regards,
    Don a/k/a botlking

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