...what is that to you? 
                                    Follow me!
                                                             -- John 21:22

When you first sent me out to tend the sheep,
I thought you merely meant me to keep
them from the elements---the fire and rain.
I couldn't see why you told me: I'd
be treading hallowed ground.  But as
I gained a foothold in the land, I found
where you were heading.  You hired me,
not just to pastor someone else, but planned,
no doubt, to form for me yourself
a shelter from the storm.  Without
this work, I'd have always felt like winning
still more territory to control.
But now I'd find such power irksome.  I've
enough to do to turn one soul from sinning.
Numbed by ceaseless caring, I've lost
all sense of time and space.  But still
I roam, filled with unexpected peace.
For in this hour of grace, I'm coming home.

                                                                   -- Mahlon H. Smith 

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* Note: This poem is from an entry
in the author's journal
dated 18 November 1970
and published here for the first time.

Author's photo: Follow me
shepherd & flock
on Mount Scopus, Israel
(late August 1973).

Collected Poems
Mahlon H Smith

copyright 2005
all rights reserved