Lilies of the field

Lillian Cripps, my grandmother, for whom I wrote this.

Lillian Cripps, my grandmother, for whom I wrote this.

Your dusty hat is hanging in the light of heaven still,

and there’s a basket you didn’t fill

beside it, and there may be two or three

berries you didn’t pick beneath some stem

but for other, fresher, hands you must leave them.

For you are done with berry picking now.

The row on row of berries grew beyond your sight

and called you to kneel and bow in harvest rite,

to reap the sweet reward of what you’d sown–

again, again–until you’re overcome.

Again, again, between finger and thumb,

you gently pinched the stem, then twisted and pulled.

Ten thousand thousand fruit there were to pluck,

and roll in palm and cradle to crate. Those struck

and bruised, or burned by sun or showing rot

were lost. And year on year, the berry yield

was just enough. Around you in the field,

were those who would keep you from being alone,

but who could never touch your loneliness

or know your bitter taste of emptiness.

Though what disturbs this sleep of yours is plain,

there, in the arms of the angels, rest your soul:

accept your love and comfort, and be made whole.

For you are done with berry picking now.

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