Mark’s Poetry Page | Mark’s Home Page
Contact

The Ministry of Hands

By Mark Shepard


For more poetry (and some prose), visit Mark Shepard’s Poetry Page at
www.markshep.com/poetry

Copyright © 1980, 2013 Mark Shepard. May not be published or posted without the author’s permission.


One of my favorite poems, this was left out of Songs of Flesh, Songs of Spirit only because it was written in a much later period.—Mark

Last week, I worked on my room’s back extension.
Cold ocean winds had blown between the boards,
The entire house their prey.
I caulked,
And tar-papered,
And insulated,
And then installed an inside wall
Of scrap redwood from the shed.
The wind still buffets,
But no longer freely enters,
And the walls will hold a heater’s warmth inside.

The rainy season will soon be on us.
I am preparing the house,
The garden,
The car.
My hands are ministers to this house and grounds.
And, as they find their calling,
My soul too is worked over.
Winds of experience have long blown unhindered
Through cracks in my soul’s walls,
Stirring constant flurries of thoughts and feelings.
Now, steady attention to my hands’ work
Gradually fills those cracks.
Layers of slow reflection protect still more.
Responsibility gives a durable inner surface.

Slowly the walls become more solid.
When they finally keep the fiercest gusts outside,
I will watch life’s storms safely from my window,
While Spirit’s warmth fills up the place within.