Saturday, April 27, 2013

Letter of the Companion

Giotto Bondone
c 1306, Scrovegni Chapel, Padua, Italy

Dear friends in the Spirit,
may God's peace and joy be with you,
and the end of the age
sweep away the evil abroad.

We arrived in the town by the
wasteland road and met no ill
weather. Our brothers
drawn to cruelty and despair
lay in wait by the roadside.
Times are hard but here seem worse;
the land grows nothing in the drought
and still soldiers come for their tax.

Your brother, my husband,
knows well the road and brought us clear.
He traveled before among the angry ones.
We own nothing but the clothes on our backs,
and pose them no harm. We spoke new words
and the Spirit broke the hard heart.
Men with blood on their hands
wept and beat the dust with fists for sorrow.

Like children they asked to be clean
of what the times have made them do.
I held them in my arms like a mother
and sister. I told them
a great comforter has come to sweep away the pain
in the land. We spoke the Master's name
over them to drive off demons
that plague their dreams and harden
their hearts with anger and grief and death.

Some stared in amazement. I, a woman,
saw their tears. Their shame made them
hide their eyes from me. They spoke with hate.
"A woman should not see our shame,"
they said. I wept for them.
"God will see your sins on the last day.
His Spirit sees all and I am in His Spirit.
Leave this evil you do. Do not let the joy
the Spirit gives die in your anger.
Has not a great sorrow left your heart?
Follow the Spirit and cleanse yourselves
for when the end of the age comes."

Some were angered still more by my words and left
our circle, back to the shadows by the road.
Those who stayed wept at our feet and begged forgiveness.
They led us to the village, where the people ran for
fear when they saw us with thieves. One of
the brothers has a family in that town. They
cried for joy when he that they thought dead
appeared alive. They fell at our feet and kissed them.

When the villagers learned how we
cured the evil of their sins, wonder filled
their eyes, and their voices turned to whispers
as they spoke about God and his mercy, for
He alone can turn what was dead into life.

Peter praised the Spirit and spoke the words
of the Messiah to them. But in the village
men do not hear or see as clearly as in the desert.
So many voices drown the sound of the Lord's name,
and the truth is seed thrown on dust.

The women came to see a strange thing.
They fingered my clothes frayed by the wind,
and asked how I could put up with a
man who spoke such wild things and gave me
nothing but the street for a bed. Again, the
Spirit filled me and I witnessed to them the
power of the Lord to overcome all need and
desire in this world. The Spirit made
my legs tremble with lightness.
The words filled the breath from my lips
like a song from a bird in a green valley
when day begins and dew wets the grass.

Again, few listened. They laughed
and made fun of me and my poor things, and called
me no better than a slave. They mocked my words.
I did not feed my anger with their pride. I said
the Teacher too had suffered insults. Keep your
heart free from bitterness and hate, He said, and
fear the Lord whose Spirit will comfort you in
evil times. Some of the women stayed with
me by the fire when the others left.
They helped me prepare a meal and water.
We slept that night in a farmer's attic.

The Lord's work bears wonderful fruit, my friends.
I write from a small inn where the owner lets us stay.
Peter has a chill and fever.
Our lives are in the hands of God.
Whether we live or die, He decides.
I am not my own and His Spirit
fills me with psalms. I would
die in the street doing His work.
It is all one in the name of the Lord.
I pray he sends you his Spirit of love
as he does for me. All blessings be yours...

Published for Poetics prompt

copyright 2013 Charles David Miller. All rights reserved.


  1. Charles, Whoa - this is quite a journey - your cadence - or the letter's cadence so stately and confidence and rings with a righteousness of purpose as well as a "just there" quality that is quite compelling. As an aside, I'd mention that the Giotto is one of my favorite art works of all time - I can hardly imagine a more beautiful painting - thanks - so good to have you back. k.

  2. smiles...very cool man...could be a letter of the bible as it reflects it in many of the ways...that she is confusing to those that come to see this strange thing...and how she could live thus...great write man..

  3. A poem of faith. There a lot of issues that are addressed here.. love,forgiveness, the power of prayer and inspiration from the Holy Spirit.

    'So many voices drown the sound of the Lord's name and the truth is seed thrown on dust'

    Powerful words..spiritual life can only be achieved in a reclusive cloistered life and preferably in a natural environment away from the world.I can identify with this concept.

    Welcome back Charles. Your talent has been missed.

  4. This is absolutely stunning, Charles. A brilliant piece of writing.

  5. cool...a report of one who walked with them.. i wonder sometimes how it must have been...and good to see you more around again charles

  6. Reads like out of the Bible. Story of faith and perseverance. Lovely and captivating read.

  7. " do not hear or see as clearly as in the desert." Love that line. So true for the person on a spiritual journey.

  8. A simply told story is always best, and this narrative is a fascinating glimpse into the human mind, so capable of such diverse goods and evils, and all its arguments and reasonings for either. We must use the staff that comes to hand to hold us up. Good to see you writing again Charles, and thanks for your input on my pagan spiritual.

  9. I read this with thanks for reminding me of the spirit and love that resides in the hearts of men who follow the Lord's word and faithfully carries out his work in the streets ~

    Thank you for your lovely comments about my work and it is great reading you again. Hope you are well ~

  10. Such a powerful story, filled with the truths of humanity. A journey worth taking.

  11. Charles, absolutely love this. It really embodies the biblical narrative/parable very nicely, yet also seems to borrow effectively from the early storytelling lore of myths and folktales. The trek itself is worth noting, as the steps that move the story forward are also a literal feeling of motion and direction in itself. Outstanding write here, quite the accomplishment. Thanks