Friday, 28 December 2012
To most it simply is their livelihood
To change the live silver until it's dead
And filthy clanging silver and they could
Just as well pass their days in making bread
Or, if they had the brains, transcripts of Greek.
Day clashing after day of scratching knives
Strung into week following tedious week
Grind out their tepid, barely half- lived lives.
He's not like this. To him the lithe white flakes
Of muscle and the delicate web of bones
Constitute his material - when he hones
His knife and soothes the flesh and bones apart
It is his magnum opus which he makes
For every fillet is a work of art.
Perfection was the aim: even his writing
Was evidence of reaching for perfection,
Unlike my own crabbed hand. His mind delighting
In flawlessness could show a predilection
For no one of my kind; his approbation
Seemed to evade me - rightly I confess.
Yet graciousness that salved our situation
Was further evidence of saintliness.
Those who each day saw him about his trade
Found no more apt description of him than,
In all their market, "the last gentleman".
They could not fathom that in all these days
Another Man was more and more displayed:
The Perfect Man, through faith, engaged his gaze.
Gentleness, humour, generosity:
He never spanked me once - in case he hurt;
And I recall one over-boisterous day
When deeds more vigorous and words more curt
Would have more aptly answered my attack.
When he told jokes you'd lose the point till after
But not feel any sorrier for the lack:
He'd spoil the tale, yet cheer you, with his laughter.
As for his generosity, that theme
Is subject of abundant evidence;
He worked long hours for substance to dispense
And used his time for visits to deliver
His many gifts - because of the esteem
Of Him he knew as the transcendent Giver.
Perfection was His aim: in every day
The work of God progressed towards its end.
Natural aptitudes had lessened sway
In Father's trade; instead he could perpend -
And grow in - thoughts of Jesus. God had pleasure
Seeing a soul advancing towards His aim,
Until He added to perfect this treasure
The final thought of "Jesus Christ, the Same".
If Father loved to see a plump and fresh
Haddock or sole come cleanly from the bone
Through skill achieved by careful toil alone
So that no trace of worthlessness was left
His Saviour's stroke which soothed him from the flesh
Was infinitely swifter and more deft.
The Lord Jesus took my father to be with Himself 32 years ago today.