i put him all into my arms

Vincent Van Gogh, "The Good Samaritan"

Vincent Van Gogh, “The Good Samaritan”

Spiritual Sunday

Today’s Gospel reading is one of Jesus’ most challenging parables, the story of the good Samaritan. Poet e. e. cummings, through the use of graphic physical details, brings the story uncomfortably close to home:

a man who had fallen among thieves

a man who had fallen among thieves
lay by the roadside on his back
dressed in fifteenthrate ideas
wearing a round jeer for a hat

fate per a somewhat more than less
emancipated evening
had in return for consciousness
endowed him with a changeless grin

whereon a dozen staunch and leal
citizens did graze at pause
then fired by hypercivic zeal
sought newer pastures or because

swaddled with a frozen brook
of pinkest vomit out of eyes
which noticed nobody he looked
as if he did not care to rise

one hand did nothing on the vest
its wideflung friend clenched weakly dirt
while the mute trouserfly confessed
a button solemnly inert.

Brushing from whom the stiffened puke
i put him all into my arms
and staggered banged with terror through
a million billion trillion stars


Added note – With the George Zimmerman’s trial over the shooting of Trayvon Martin rekindling racial tensions, it’s good to remember Jesus’s call to love our neighbors. It remains humanity’s greatest challenge.

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  • Barbara

    A wonderful poem, Robin! Thank you!

  • Florence

    The art for this is stunning! I’d never heard of this painting before.


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