Possessing All Things

It’s a story
That came to me,
Late spring, early one
Thursday evening.
We were walking
The university grounds.
(Still hoofing it
Or busing or taxiing-
No car in the driveway.)
We had been to the
Main Library.
Hilary dabbling in Huguenot history,
Celtic folklore,
Charles G. D. Roberts’
Animal stories for the kids.
I, following the canoe
Of Grey Owl,
Or the letters of
My beloved Rutherford
And Scottish Covenanters.

The evening was
Lazy-warm and the
Leaves on the maple and oak
In full splendour.
The little campus stream
Was trickling toward
The duck pond,
And the two of us
Leaned on the aluminum
Bridge rail,
Arm-in-arm, silent, contented.
Watching Mother Mallard
Convoy her paddling brood of nine
Toward overhanging bushes.
No students passed.
(Campus population at
A seasonal minimum.)
Waterloo traffic noise
Muted through
Surrounding wood-lots.
I was impressed by
A suggestion from within:
“All things are yours,
And ye are Christ’s
And Christ is God’s.”

(A morning’s reading
Had prompted this thought
Some days before…
Seems a little house-maid
Worked in a large mansion.
Many rooms, exquisite.
Lots of dusting, cleaning, polishing.
She reserved a special time
Each day to enter
Her employer’s study to work.
There it was.
Four-by-five oil-painting
Of the Scottish Highlands.
For him, “a good investment
Picked up on tour overseas
With his wife.
Last appraisal – hundred and twenty-five
Percent jump in value.”

To the maid, this scene
Was Heaven. Multi-coloured
Heather, dramatic variable skies,
Distant snow-capped peak,
Ruddy little Highland cattle,
And one old Jock following
With plaidy and staff.
With such a feast for the eyes
Work became a luxury,
Day’s chores completed with joy.
Now who owned that painting?)

Hilary tapped my elbow:
“This is nice, isn’t it.”
The two of us headed down
The path,
Fragrance of lilac from
Somewhere up ahead.


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