And all ate

Haiku for the hungry

Seeking to withdraw,
to find peace, he went by boat
to a lonely place.

They came from the towns
trekking around the shoreline
until they found him.

He saw the great crowd,
and their needs. He went ashore
to bless and to heal.

Evening’s shadows
signal that the day has passed.
The people remain.

Hungers are many.
Send the crowds away, they said,
That they may buy food.

They’ve come to be fed;
we’ll supply for their stomachs
as well as their hearts.

Five loaves and two fish
won’t go far among this crowd!
He blessed, broke the bread.

They passed it around.
Somehow it went the distance.
Nobody complained.

 

© Ken Rookes 2017

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Entitlement

Arriving in his home town
Jesus entered the coming-together place
and addressed his people.
A wave of amazement washed over them,
and then receded almost as quickly.

No special favours, he told them.
Like it was with Elijah and Elisha,
it won’t be the local people who receive the words,
or the blessings.
It’ll be the outsiders, the strangers,
the foreigners and other no-hopers.

Hardly surprising, then,
that a new wave was generated;
one of anger and outrage.
This one took its time passing,
as the throng rode it malevolently
to the cliff at edge of the town;
sweeping the offender before them.

There, to their credit,
they had second thoughts,
and let him walk away.
Which proved to be a good thing
for us outsiders, strangers,
foreigners and other no-hopers.

 

© Ken Rookes 2016

Hungers

 

To get away from the multitudes
and their expectations
the man called Bread
withdraws to the hills.

Having eaten their fill,
the crowd still wants more.
They intend to make him king,
to claim him as their hero-leader,
that he might feed them when they are hungry,
heal them when they are sick,
and deliver them victory over their enemies.

Instead he gives them a handful of words:
crumbs of bread to fill them with hope,
and morsels of love to overcome their fears.
Then he offers them platters
laden with small parcels of his own strange life;
topped with generously with sacrifice.

None of these  dishes will prove sufficient
to satisfy the imagined hungers of the crowd.
© Ken Rookes 2015

Another poem on this theme can be found here. This poem is called Hunger (singular!)

Hunger

There’s no escaping a hungry crowd.
Even in deserted places there will be no hiding;
they find him.
To be fair, in our story, it was the disciples
who articulated the need for food.
Maybe the crowd has already
had its metaphorical hunger
satisfied.

Jesus fed me once.
I was hungry; for something
I couldn’t even name.
A spiritual something, an answer,
perhaps, to my bewilderment,
my anger,
my uncertainty.
At least, I think it was Jesus.

Dining on his story
I caught glimpses of hope,
along with tracings of grace.
These intimations
proved food enough to satisfy,
and in time, to value
both the uncertainty
and the anger.

© Ken Rookes 2014.