To Plait Celestial Chains

They also serve who only stand and wait.

– John Milton, “On his Blindness”

They also serve who only stand and wait.
Ere even days in this dark world and wide,
small souls, or large, peek into this estate.
Then side by side, their errand to confide.

Bound firmly through celestial veils to plait
complexly braided chain not set aside.
If each will do honor to his own state,
then together into the light they stride.

So sits the hopeful, final state of man.
So depend the living on the dead, yet
ancestors and children stand together.

Watchful guides as we pursue God’s great plan.
Gone on, or yet to come, can we forget
the reward, when on that shore we’re gathered?

 

Water and Politics: Cuba 1959

Sometimes, when swimming in salty water,
I think how far it is to Miami.
I still remember how it used to be.
I recall the stories of my father.

See the placid smile of my mother;
Relive the night they went into the sea.
I was taken, they would come back for me.
But they were taken by shifting weather.

As time went by I learned to live alone.
Sometimes I trusted the revolution.
Sometimes I kept a vigil on my own,
Waiting for political solution.

I long to see them, now that I am grown.
To hold the ones I’ve always called my own.

 

The Last Shall Find Grace

We will be called last to the wedding feast.
We are immigrants searching for our place,
A scattered nation of pilgrims and priests.

When servants are sent out to find the least,
They found us lost, fallen, fallen from grace.
We will be called last to the wedding feast.

In bondage we wait, wait to be released.
We only hope to stand before your face,
A scattered nation of pilgrims and priests.

From poverty, like Lazarus released
We’ll find ourselves in Abraham’s embrace.
We will be called last to the wedding feast.

After the reign of the wealthy is ceased,
And self-righteous, self-made men lose their place,
A scattered nation of pilgrims and priests,

Will return from diasporas to feast.
The first will be last and the last, find grace.
We will be called last to the wedding feast,
A scattered nation of pilgrims and priests.

 

Bobby Aldridge was born in Eritrea, grew up in Japan and the US.  He is a poet and editor, former owner of the Haiku Gallery and the Brown Street Gallery.  He has taught in most areas of the social sciences at various small colleges in the central US for many years.  Currently, he is working toward the opening of The Poet’s Gallery, a chapbook store, café, and visual arts gallery in the greater Kansas City area.  He is the editor of lunchatgiverny.com, an online literary and visual arts magazine and New Codices Press, a chapbook and children’s book micropress.

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