My Poem “The Name-Stone” at Utmost Christian Writers

My poem “The Name-Stone” just received an Honorable Mention in this year’s contest for Christian poets at Utmost Christian Writers. This Canadian website has been very supportive of my work over the years. Read all the winners here. (Some are still in the process of being posted as of today, April 18. Check again in a few days if you don’t see a link to the one you want.)

The poem was inspired by a discussion in my church’s adult education group about a verse from the Book of Revelation: “To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.” One of our members, a retired Anglican priest, said this could refer to the ancient Near Eastern practice of friends making a keepsake at parting. They would write their names on a stone or lump of clay and break it in half, each one retaining a piece that uniquely fit the other.

The Name-Stone

(Revelation 2:17)

I will give you a stone
with a secret under it.

As children in the Galilee
wrote friendship’s names on both ends
of such a shard, and broke it
and went away, each to his own desert.

Dirt-born,
nothing to give one another
but a ragged edge
that, fit
to its companion, meant love.

Where do the gouged letters lie,
in temple midden or the royal road’s thorns?
What hands crushed the clay?

I will give you a piece
of unmarked earth.

Not the name
your mother pressed onto your lips
to seal the scroll of her sorrows.

Not the name
your father spilled
like an ox-dragged harrow,
a plow with no sower.

They only know the name
that decoy, death,
reared above the spot
where you left this ground.

Granite praises granite,
butchers weep
over the marble lamb,
speak both parts
of the absolving script.

But I will give you a riven rock
to drink from its flood heart,
the rock I broke myself
to fit you.

One comment on “My Poem “The Name-Stone” at Utmost Christian Writers

  1. Vicky Gouldthorp says:

    Love this. Thanks for sharing.

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