On ice-cold days with slate-gray skies,
I venture out, all bundled thick
With coats and scarves and wool-knit hats
To catch a glimpse of something new,
A quick-feathered diver, midnight black,
Whose haunting gaze has scanned these seas
Since long before our wanderlusting race
Set timid foot against this coast,
But which I, full slow and unaware,
Still have yet to see.
But this day I find him, the old watcher,
Perched atop a crest of rock
Amid the thunder, crash, and spume.
Frosty fingers of the wind
Tug my coat and rake my face,
But there I stand, against the storm,
And there I watch the watcher.
He is patient, still as the stone
While breaking waves make foam and swirl
Around him and beneath,
In the driving, moving channel
Between the ocean and the bay.
Wind and ice speak peace to him,
His home a maelstrom of sleet,
And silent, perseverant, he waits,
Till break of storm or buckled wave
Gives him place to dive.
Oh, like that patient bird, sweet Lord,
Make me a stalwart in the storm.
Let not the wind of dark misfortune,
Nor unbidden crests of pain,
Nor the frozen fields of my own heart
Keep me from waiting, faithful,
All for Thee.
Like the watcher, Lord, let me be ready
To hear your world-rending call,
To cry Amen against the storm,
And, launching arrowed from my rest,
To dive straight in the restless sea
Of your unceasing love for me.
Note to My Readers: from mid-June to mid-August (6/18 - 8/20), I will be taking a summer break from posting new articles for my Thursday and Friday slots. This will only affect my Thursday series on the global growth of Christianity, and my Friday series, the "Theological Bestiary" of birds, both of which will resume in late August. During the summer, I'll be dusting off some of my best essays from the first few years of this blog (a decade ago), as well as my verse play "Thus Ends the World," and re-posting them in the Thursday and Friday slots. All other weekdays will continue to feature new material throughout the summer.