Those boughs stay green from which began
    Garlands of flesh: my Gran, who spread
    Twelve babies in her double bed
As one might open a fan,

While constant in baptismal black,
    Of every blessing, pound by pound,
    In this bouncing Bible goatskin-bound,
My grandfather kept track.

They died in hopes of early rise.
    In Scripture’s sheets their faces slept
    Where Jacob’s pinned-down angel kept
Watch by their couch with steelcut eyes

Through ninety winters, buried deep
    Till now. Their glances, crisp as sage,
    Rise from their good book’s crumbling page,
Pressed fern fronds someone wished to keep.

A Message from the Editors

As a reader of our efforts, you have stood with us on the front lines in the battle for culture. Learn how your support contributes to our continued defense of truth.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 25 Number 1, on page 72
Copyright © 2022 The New Criterion |