He who would be great among you

You whose birth broke all the social and biological rules—
son of the poor who accepted
the worship due a king—
child prodigy debating with
the Temple Th.D.’s—you
were the kind who used
a new math
to multiply bread, fish, faith.
You practiced a
radical sociology:
rehabilitated con men and
call girls, you valued women and other minority groups.
a GP, you specialized in
heart transplants.
Creator, healer,
shepherd, innovator,
story-teller, weather-maker,
botanist, alchemist,
exorcist, iconoclast,
seeker, seer, motive-sifter,
you were always beyond,
above us. Ahead
of your time, and ours.

And we would like
to be like you. Bold
as Boanerges, we hear ourselves
demand: ‘Admit us
to your avant-garde.
Grant us degree
in all the liberal arts of heaven.”
Why our belligerence?
Why does this whiff of fame
and greatness smell so sweet?
Why must we compete
to be first? Have we forgotten
how you took simply cool water
and a towel for our feet?

-Luci Shaw


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