After Dane Ortlund's Gentle and Lowly
I imagined a purifying, beautiful kind of grief,
clear and clean—
foaming ice-cold against rocks and
around the bends,
see-through shallow where it’s quiet and still.
But there’s a rage that pollutes the waters
I had so counted on to wash me smooth once
and for all.
Emptied bottles and old plastic bags,
long-lodged deep in silt and trapped in the arms of fallen branches,
work their way loose and rise
to float on my river.
And yet I know
there is a river
whose name is Mercy,
pure and undefiled,
a Spirit that rushes mighty to meet me here,
more mighty than the winds and the waters
that cut my course.
It swallows up the shadows, heals
the jagged places, and sees
past the bend and farther.
Flowing down from a heart that yearns,
it pours out
in the shape of a man
and covers me.
There is a river
whose name is Mercy.
Cover image by Carl Cerstrand