Dick is a Christian leader running a church in North Liverpool. He is also a Personnel Manager in a big hospital. He is married with 3 children, all also Christians. "A Song for Isaac" is from Dick's first published volume of poetry, Slow Train Passing.
A Song for Isaac
"Come child," he said, "I must not leave you here.
The hard ground and the frost will cause you harm.
This coat is large enough for us to share
and you can lean for comfort on my arm."
And so I stumbled at his side
and gazed into his eyes and cried
though curious and cold.
"My Father, when the servants fell behind
you bid them wait—what mischief will they plan
and we return but shortly—shall we find
them drunken, dozing by the caravan?"
He shook a tear from out his eye
some grit maybe that swept the sky
and caught him unawares.
He felt each step ahead, for he was old,
and paused at intervals to twitch the skin,
shifting the bulk against the constant cold
and drew me near to keep the warming in.
And so we took a silent walk
distracted from the usual talk
of realms and rumoured wars.
"My Son, Almighty God, in my old age
after so many years of silent wait:
the same that bid me into pilgrimage,
has called again—and now I hesitate."
His words were stopped, a plaintive note
of anguish gathered in his throat
as though his heart would break.
"What say you Son, shall I resist the Lord
who blessed me late—his venture touches both
but only one returns—his present word
beats like a vehement whirlwind on my faith."
It seemed a weak and slight reply:
"My fathe—must I fall and die
on this deserted slope?"
"A Son, the Lord has said—his one demand!
Look here is wood, go gather all in sight
then I must bind you—see this senseless hand
abhors the knife that shall remove my light:
and yet I know—through sacrifice
the dead shall live—by what device
or means I cannot tell."
And often since, when shrouded by these rocks
against the first foot of the winter's cold,
piping a shepherd summons to the flocks
to lead them down the mountain to the fold:
I hear the cry of Abraham,
"Our God will yet provide a lamb!"
that echoed in my ears.
Or prone and thoughtful on a summer's day:
lulled by the drowsy tinkling of the herd
and my Rebecca singing far away:
I find my heart distracted by the word
that God—our God—spoke out the flame
who swore by his own head and name
that blessing he would bless!
Copyright ©2005 by Dick Hayes