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  • Louise Gwathmey Weld

John the Baptist

The following poem is re-printed from the Ancient Paths archives. It originally appeared in Issue 4 (Spring 2000).

John the Baptist

by Louise Gwathmey Weld

A voice cries from the wilderness: 'Do not dismantle yourself into small, manageable compartments or wrap yourself in learning and habit. Even the wisdom of the land is fenced in; people grow flowers in window boxes. 'Do not cling to a sturdy tree and the safety of rooted virtue for the voice of the Lord twists oaks and strips the forests bare. Fling yourself into the storm and let it rip you off your crossroads considerations and take you where you cannot get by map or marker. If you stumble refuse the rescue squad and all who would bandage up your need. 'Go into the desert hunger and thirst after righteousness; repent of every attempt you make to clothe yourself in respectability, tuck in your shirttales around your raging fear cotton-mouthed sophistication muffles your wailing loneliness. ''Let the wind have its way with you. When you do not know who you are and can find no cause for hope are naked and battered beyond recognition cannot press yourself into any nest or crevice, cannot hear your own breath; then you may hear the grating click of the locust summoning you to the author of your salvation there to be fed with wild honey and laid, slippery sweet with birth, on the stomach of your own soul, touched and named by her welcoming caress as she traces your shape on her heart.'

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