High Wind and Fire

A poem for Pentecost
by
William Maxwell

 On that first Pentecost
the wind and the fire were only hints
of what was about to happen:

High Wind and Fire

On that first Pentecost
the wind and the fire were only hints
of what was about to happen:
  Frightened folk gulped a couple of times
and spoke about Jesus.
They said, “This Jesus whom you crucified God has named
Lord and Messiah by raising him from the dead.”
They said, “The old barriers between Jew and Gentile,
between men and women, between slave and free,
don’t matter now.”
They said, “Let’s hit the road.”

The Spirit, who had patted chaos into shape
and whispered in the ears of prophets and poets,
began to pat sinners into shape
and to speak clearly about forgiveness and love
and community and freedom and joy.
Not everyone got it, of course, but enough got it
so that the world was never the same.



© 2009 William Maxwell

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