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I Knew Him

June 9, 2022

By Emily Waldorf

 

Recently I had a dream;

Creeping and stealthy, it quietly came.

The pictures I saw were dull and blurred,

But the air about me with voices stirred.

 

Confused at first, but gradually clear,

Each one shouted, “I knew him here!”

Then one spoke out, the voice of Flesh,

Soft and low amid the clamorous rush.

 

It met my ear and whispered there,

“I knew him. He bore me while he was here.

He bore me though pain-filled, fragile, infirm,

And still, though changed, I mantle him.”

 

“I am,” said another, rusty and old,

Deadly as venom, heartless and cold,

“Iron, the key to his father’s trade.

I am chisel, hammer, and blade.”

 

“As acquainted with trade and farming am I

As with brute slaughter and battle cry.

Many I’ve killed without alarm—

I am Iron, it does me no harm.”

 

“Used to the blood of warrior and dame,

Soldier and child to me are the same.

But to think that I would one day see

Them pierce and pound his flesh with me!”

 

This too disappeared, and another came

And spoke in my ear, the ear of my dream.

“I,” it said, “am the voice of the Hills.”

At its thunder, my heart stood still.

 

“Generations of people have dwelt at my feet,

Have come and gone as time claimed its seat.

Their bodies lay in my ancient crust,

Forgotten and dead, they become my dust.”

 

“Yet in the record of fleeting men,

All my memory, knowledge, and ken,

Never has a footstep rang in the hills

That made me tremble, quake, and thrill.”

 

“All his footsteps thrilled me to the core,

And made me thirst to feel him more.

He thrilled my every buried vein;

Then how could I bear to see his pain?”

 

“I never supposed at the last he would die;

I nearly collapsed at the sound of his cry.

At the touch of his feet, I trembled and swayed.

At the stop of his heartbeat, I gave way.”

 

The rumbling voice shuddered and ceased,

And in its stead came an eerie peace.

Then in the silence another voice said,

“It was I who became his infant bed.”

 

“From his mother’s arm, it was I who held him:

Cradled his head till the stars were dim.

In forested heights, I would watch him play

As he picked up sticks along his way.”

 

“From then on, I knew him; often we met.

His father’s profession made it fit.

Each time he touched me, I started and shook.

I was glad and rejoiced at his very look.”

 

“In the feel of his hand was perfect bliss;

Often I longed for his awesome caress.

But this was the dreadful, divine decree:

That he should one day die on me!”

 

“Oh, gladly would I have let him down!

Gladly have shown the crowd and the town!

But he held me there, relief he disdained,

Though hell and agony burned in his veins.”

 

“Blood from his fingers sickened the sand

While I was compelled by that tortured hand.

So we remained fixed and felt him die:

The flesh and the nails and the earth and I.”

 


Emily Waldorf doesn’t remember when she started to love writing. She likes both prose and poetry, but poems make her heart sing in a way that prose isn’t designed for. Her passion for poetry was sparked early on, when her mom recited Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Swing” to her while pushing her “up in the air so blue.” Longfellow is her inspiration and the poet she tries to emulate. She writes nature- and Christian-themed poems, experimenting with different meters and rhyme schemes. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and spending time with her family.

5 Comments

  1. E. N. Leonard

    Wow! Awesome use of personification, showing how the very earth praises God!

    Reply
  2. Ariana Streblow

    Thoughtfully written! It’s not a polished poem, but it remains extremely beautiful. One of those things you read that you immediately know will stick with you.

    Reply
  3. Chalice Sleep

    This is so beautiful and breathtaking… 😭💛

    Reply
  4. Emily Waldorf

    Thank you Kingdomfire, E.N, Ariana and Chalice. Your comments mean much to me.

    Reply

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