Shift of feet on the mountainside. Strain
Of gaining the crags of Sinai's summit,
The gentler tops of Horeb, or the heights
Of Pisgah. This was your route of approach
To the nearness marked in advance for you ‑
And the friendship. So that rest, peaceful security,
Was something valuable as you were with Jehovah
Since you arrived through harsh experience
But softened since experience with Him, His eagle
Winging to Himself to be through long tramping
More than any other "among His priests".
And only through such experience could you be His people's shepherd,
Leashing their waywardness, cajoling, using your rod ‑
Mindful always that it could become a serpent but using it
More as provider of water ‑ till their princes could dig with their staves.
But the desert was not all harshness
Since from its drought songs echoed
As splendid punctuation. While dearth
Parched tongues and the sultriness
Enervated your doctrine bathed
Like the rain, your speech flowed,
A refreshing dew. A gentle smirr
Sprouted the tender herbs,
To make the grasses pullulate
Lush strands skyward ‑
Patience, with God, made song.
"Smirr" is a good Scots word for a certain kind of fine constant rain. Its a subject on which we are experts.