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Anna Smalley

Grand Prize 2008 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest $1000

About this Christian Poet:
Anna Smalley graduated from Penn State University in 2006 with degrees in English and Media Studies. She now resides as a writer and freelance editor in King of Prussia, PA, where she lives with her husband and her cat named Fish.

About this Poem:
"The Crossroads" is a response to the desire placed in all of us for something more than we can find in this world. At some point we are brought to a choice (the crossroads) that we must make about which path in life we are going to take, and we make that choice while dealing with fear and doubt. This poem is about confronting that choice and struggling to begin that journey down the path to God.

The Crossroads

He suddenly recalled Sonia’s words, “Go to the cross-roads, bow down to the people, kiss the earth, for you have sinned against it too, and say aloud to the whole world, ‘I am a murderer.’” --Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Let us go then, you and I,
Let us dance
Down this path of red brick,
In this rain, warm and coppery,
From a sky that is bleeding clean.
You and I, we are clay
Staining in this slick shower
Of liquid that rusts before it even lands.

You say
I know that nothing good lives in me.
I say I press on to take hold of that.
You say
For I have the desire but cannot carry it out.
And I say nothing.

And we go, you and I,
But we hesitate;
Crossing no Roman roads or bridges.
This warm rain, bitter and thick,
Dyes with the sharp color of crimson.
You and I, we are clay
Rejecting the live lacquer
Coming over our earthen vessels.

I say
I have the desire to do what is good.
You say But I cannot carry it out.
I say
Not that I have already obtained all this.
You say Nothing.

And I think that Eliot might have been right
About Shadows and faith and Hamlet
And what you and I should have been.
Bitter, cold, and without feeling –
Forlorn, we grasp for the smaller, grass path.

Let us go then, you and I,
Let us bow
Kissing this brick valley of earth,
In this rain of blood and mercy,
With rusty palms pressing the dirt.
You and I, we are clay
Molded by the potter’s hands,
Given claim to life promised and prayed.

We will go and lift our hands,
We will bow
Faces to the lime-peel blades of grass.
The rain is now downy snow
Bleaching the paths with whitened ash.
On you and I, the clay,
Words are written and hidden
That will be life for those who find them.

Copyright ©2008 by Anna Smalley