POETRY: Jesus And His Relatives, by Paul Wegner

(Translated from the German by Geroge Dardess)

There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him.  And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
(Mark 3:31-35)

His Word delivered, he stood apart
in a glow among them. His heart
still rang, overcome by its own beat,
like the swinging clapper of a mighty bell.

And his glance, rapt in the spell
of God’s face, shuddered like the sea
in the sun’s kiss, glittering cool, empty,
amid the swarm of men, the swooning girls.

He still stood, arm outfurled
in blessing posture, yet
just as if there were no columns, roof, or wall
but only himself towering over them all,
over a distant Here, a There right under his feet.

A disciple touched his cloak.
“Mary, your mother, spoke
to me, told me to call you.
She’s just outside. Your brothers too.”

Hesitating, he turned
like one facing the plunge
from the clear burn
of the evening sky
into a dingy night.
His family stood before him.
His voice was black.
“Who gave you all the right
to say ‘my son,’ ‘my brother,’ to me?
My God made me a light
to this whole blundering crew,
not just to you, or you.
You have no claim on me.
To possess and be possessed is your obsession.
My will is my own—
I am my own possession
by being God’s.
For who takes God into himself
must be alone.”



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