When John spoke,
his words fell to drench dry earth
and the desert was filled
with long-forgotten flowers;
the purple trumpets of repentance
and the blue-bells of earnest intent.
Imprisoned, and presumed silent,
he summoned some friends
to report on the state of the garden.
they told of wilderness beauty:
the sprouting green of new life,
the golden flowering of good news,
the pink and white flourish
of restored skin and bone,
and the red blossoming
glorious song and rainbow array
awaiting newly opened ear and eye.
Then the Baptiser knew
that the long-expected one
truly had come.
If you repent,
the much-loved doctrine declares,
you will be forgiven.
A simple-enough transaction,
with the reception of forgiveness transmuted,
by divine alchemy, into the golden currency
of paradisiacal admittance.
With much tears and wailing, repentance is enacted,
souls are pronounced saved,
and heaven’s host, we are told, prepares another room.
But what if repentance is no mere turning point,
arrived at once and finally?
What if it is an attitude that grows, develops,
and manifests itself in actions;
many and uncounted, small and large;
with an impetus towards sharing and justice
and generosity and peace?
And what if the second chance grace
is all about such fruitfulness?
Fig tree fruits from plants worth their place
in the garden.