Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, JOHN REMEMBERS, by PAUL SMITH

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JOHN REMEMBERS, by            
First Line: Then I saw the ascension
Last Line: Peacefully green, and eternal.
Subject(s): Ascension Day; Peter, Saint (c. 64 A.d.)

Then I saw the Ascension
Saw the gnarled form, and the feet
Broken, and with the brown clots of blood still upon them
Seeming suspended in air, seeming as though the earth
Drew away from them.

Then I saw His face, the grey-eyed face of the Master
Seeing no longer my tears, raised and exalted
In my heart I heard the song of the sparrow, freed from its prison.

Long I stood so, my heart also ascending to heaven
Filled with a curious harmony of memory --
Laughing or wistful faces of children (Peter had thought they annoyed him),
Marks in the yellowing sand, and a woman crouched in the sunshine,
The stiff wet nets, bearded with mossy sea-weed,
Our childhood, watching the spattering thumping fish in them!

Bitterly all my soul rose up in me, crying
"Why have you left me thus, barren without you?
Why have you left me lonely with bullying Peter
And Thomas who knows no music but what he can whistle!"

Silent, the blue mists of Heaven swallowed the feet of the Saviour.
Looking, I saw at my feet the grass,
Fresh and odorous with the greenness of springtime
Over the hill were the olive trees
Peacefully green, and eternal.

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