I noticed the first leaves beginning to change on a maple near my home yesterday. In honor of this annual event, I give you a poem by Scott Schuleit, a student at Knox Theological Seminary. This poem was recently published in Pepperdine University’s Christianity and Literature (Spring 2006, 55:3). At first I did not think much on this, but on second and third readings I began to really appreciate how he sees reminders of Christ’s atoning act in something as common as a leaf and have found myself coming back to it. A very Christlike thing to do, don’t you think — finding opportunity to reflect on God by using an object common to the experience of the reader?
A poor outline of parched lips.
A blunt spearhead, blood-rusty and brittle with age,
long past its ripeness to pierce someone’s side.
The slender fragment of an old map
printed with the topography
of a far, famine-smitten country,
one ancient riverbed running its length
with branching, thread-veined tributaries dry,
brownish-red runnels brittle, blocked
with the petrified dust of sap.
It still retained a dull luster,
embalmed — the glaze of death
over the lineaments of surface,
the underbelly grainy,
lacking in the gift to grasp light.
Stem like a heart, darkened–
a channel drained and withered,
choked with plaque.
Blackish spots like tumors blossoming,
furthering its flowering into decay.
In my fist I grind it to dust,
rubbing it between my fingers,
sifting the chaff,
culling the grist,
then scattering it
as if seeds to be sown
over the thistle-rich earth.