.

If He came now, God’s only Son,
To save a world that’s come undone
Would we continue to defy
His truth, to stoke the ruthless lie
That claims His name is not the One?

His Word torments the twisted tongue
With light that blazes like the sun;
Would we let darkness stain our sky
__If He came now?

Would we embrace with grace or shun
Our second chance to shine, and run
To kiss His cheek; three times deny
His majesty, and pass Him by—
Or would we hear Salvation’s song
__If He came Now?

.

.

Susan Jarvis Bryant is a church secretary and poet whose homeland is Kent, England.  She is now an American citizen living on the coastal plains of Texas.  Susan has poetry published in the UK webzine, Lighten Up On Line, The Daily Mail, and Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets).


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20 Responses

  1. Margaret Coats

    Susan, you make marvelous use of the rondeau form here. The repeated questions actually suggest what a vast (but limited) number of chances individuals have to answer. The hard question about evil has been easy to ask since sin entered the world, but everything depends on the answer no one can give for another. You are wise not to try, but I’m going to offer an answer from the twelfth and last of the traditional Twelve Prophecies read last night at Easter Vigil. It’s from the Book of Daniel, where the three young men are told the adore the king’s golden statue. They say they know their God can save them from the threatened fiery furnace–and then they add that even if God will not save them, they will not adore the idol. What a real man’s answer!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Margaret, thank you so very much for your generous comment. Your answer from the twelfth and last of the traditional Twelve Prophecies is remarkable and heartening. I know there are people in the world to day who are as brave as those three young men who refused to adore the king’s golden statue – the bold young man who stood in front of the tank at Tiananmen Square being one of my personal heroes. I often ask myself whether I have the fortitude to do the same… and, I suppose that is where my poem came from. When my moment comes, I hope I am courageous enough not to disappoint. Thanks again. Your comments never fail to engage and educate me.

      Reply
  2. Jeff Eardley

    Susan, from England where the wind is swinging around to the North, to blast us with a dose of the Arctic. We have many folk here in the Moorlands who struggle to place crosses on gritstone crags. Your poem resonates today, perhaps more than ever in these strange times. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Jeff, thank you for dropping by, and, you are most welcome. I spoke to a friend in the UK today and heard there was going to be a nasty change in the currently sunny weather… I sincerely hope the cold snap doesn’t leave you in the same predicament as Texas during its Big Freeze. Make sure you keep those birds fed!

      Reply
      • Jeff Eardley

        Susan/Mike, yes, we are prepared. Our resident blackbirds, finches, pigeons, wrens, sparrows, collared doves, rooks and especially pheasants will get through this.
        Best wishes from us.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        I know those British birds are a hardy lot… and, after our hummingbird marvel, the resilience of these amazing creatures never fails to surprise me.

  3. BRIAN YAPKO

    This is a beautiful Easter offering, Susan. I’m just learning about the rondeau form but think you have made admirable use of it in the service of a painful subject — the denial of Jesus. I especially like the line “His word torments the twisted tongue.” There’s something about this poetic form that moves me — I think the almost song-like structure, the repeats, the shorter stanzas — may lend themselves more to an emotional reaction in the reader than the same piece in iambic pentameter minus the repeats would. If I’m right, the form helps gives your work more poignancy as it focuses on questions of the heart rather than the head (although I realize how much intellectual skill it took to craft this.) Forgive me if my comment is a bit off-the-wall, but I’m trying to understand why this combination of form and words works so well on an emotional level. It is intended as a deep compliment!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Brian, thank you very much for your lovely comment, which I have taken as a huge compliment. I love the rondeau form. And, you are quite right about it; it taps into the emotion of a subject beautifully… McCrae’s “Flanders Fields” springs to mind. The repetition is definitely an asset as far as getting across the subject at the very heart of the poem and leaving its very essence in the reader’s heart and mind… at least, I hope so.

      I thoroughly look forward to reading your rondeau… I have a strong feeling you will embrace the form and leave us lucky readers with a poetic treat.

      Reply
      • Susan Jarvis Byrant

        Wonderful news, Brian! I look forward to reading the end result.

  4. Jeff Eardley

    Susan, I forgot to mention that our much loved poet, Pam Ayres has been chosen to be the calming voice of authority in case of any impending Armageddon scenarios here in England. How good is that?

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Jeff, Pam Ayres is the perfect choice. As a young girl, I fell in love with Pam Ayres when she appeared on Opportunity Knocks. I already loved poetry but she increased that love tenfold. She was and still is a huge inspiration. I don’t know about the “calming voice of authority in case of any impending Armageddon” – if I was listening to her, I’d probably laugh myself to death… what better way to go!

      Reply
  5. Sandi Christie

    Susan, this is a lovely rondeau- why haven’t you published a book yet? Your poetry is amazing. Many write with precision, but you have that certain “something” that takes the poetic form to another level.

    But in answer to your poem- they would not believe it was Him, and if a few did believe, they would fear Him and kill Him, and His message would be lost again. And you certainly would not hear about it in the papers.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Sandi, thank you very much. I am, in fact, working on that very project now, and reading your words is spurring me on. I love the creative side of poetry, but when it comes to publishing, marketing etc., I’m more than a little daunted.

      Your answer to my poem is the one I fear. However, I do believe that His sheep know His voice and (although quietly, although meekly) they will continue with His message.

      Reply
  6. Sally Cook

    Dear Susan —
    The little I know of the rondeau form does not qualify me to speak of this poem from a technical point of view. However, I do know that you never allow technique to overshadow that spark of poetic fire you possess.
    It is possible for a poet to have tons of technique, but in the process of putting together the perfect poem smother that spark. What I know of your work convinces me beyond any doubt that you are about fanning; never smothering .

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Sally, thank you very much for tapping into the spirit of my poetry – your fine eye and instinct where my work is concerned is spot on, and I thoroughly appreciate your understanding and your encouragement.

      Reply
  7. Julian D. Woodruff

    Susan,
    This rondeau, it seems to me, addresses to all of us the question Jesus asked: Who do you say that I am? It shows your customary exceptional style and finish.
    Your concern over the spiritual conditions in which we find ourselves relates to a piece posted today by Dale Ahlquist of The Chesterton Society, reflecting on Chesterton’s take on agnosticism https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2021/04/04/i-dont-know-and-i-dont-care-on-the-devotion-of-the-nones/, and on its ascendancy in today’s world.
    Thanks to Evan, too, for supplying the detail from Nelli’s Last Supper; she’s a remarkable painter previously unknown to me.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Julian, thank you very much for your inspirational and informative comment. I have read the engaging article and this G.K. Chesterton observation struck a chord with me:

      if Agnosticism could impose silence about ultimate reality on all the scientists and sages, it could not impose it on the poets. Men of imagination would always be playing with the mystical second meaning of stone or star.

      This site has produced some thought-provoking poetry that asks and answers questions that are taboo in this age of apathy, and for that I am always grateful.

      Reply
  8. Paula

    Susan,
    Poetry must be read aloud with correct pauses and inflection. My first silent reading has gratifyingly caused me to muse, “Susan has done it again!” before moving on to more pressing endeavors.
    Having read the preceding erudite comments, I was humbled to revisit this creation orally. You have done a marvelous job. Such depth of thought applied so meticulously with rhyme and rhythm set you in a class above many. I can’t wait to purchase your first publication.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Paula, thank you very much for venturing onto this site to leave a considered and inspirational comment. I love that you mentioned the erudite comments. Poetry has been my passion since the age of six and I’ve never stopped writing since then… but, the difference many of the knowledgeable and equally passionate members of this society have made to my enthusiasm is immense. And, it’s lovely readers like you who make all the difference. With much gratitude.

      Reply

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