by Lynn Michael Martin
I meditated on the wrath of kings,
the right of sovereigns, that they own all power
and seize their glory, that their passions tower
to fall on us in vengeful thunderings.
I thought of those who rule and thus devour;
of monarchs who manipulate all things.
I dreamed of wealth that fills bejeweled hands,
gold dragged from barns to fill a mighty vault,
trodden beneath the feet of kings like salt—
of rings and bracelets for their brash demands.
The martyrs, hewn from stone without a fault,
were set in blasphemy upon those bands.
Therefore, forgive me, for I feared you’d come
a king worse than all earthly kings, to reign
with unrelenting might, and cast your chain
to hold all men beneath an iron thumb—
a monarch to be loathed and fled in vain;
beneath that boundless might must all succumb.
Instead, O Lord, you are a child unborn,
gestated in your humble mother’s womb.
Like her, you’ll seek no glory, nor presume
that you’ll attain to anything but scorn.
You take upon you our established doom,
you’ll live and die with us, rejoice, and mourn.
Such is our God, who shall be lifted up,
enthroned on timbers—he whom we confess
gains from a girl his life; now powerless,
soon shares his flesh so we may also sup.
Eternal glory dwells in lowliness,
and sweetness lingers in this potent cup.
Photo by Kenneth Godoy