Soothsayer (Tennyson)

Poem-a-Day Challenge #15: Prediction Poem

The majestic lady with callused hands
Whose heart is softer than her self-made dress
Is not a fortune-teller out to impress
Or swindle but a gardener out to plant.
Listen to her.

Mockers and admirers alike confuse
Her crops for the tools of soothsayers’ trade;
She dabbles with no Endorian shade,
But offers wisdom that ever buds and blooms.
Listen to her.



What is a Tennyson?

Proximity (Tennyson)

The things that are closest to me I dread;
Beloved dears are hidden from my sight.
The baying, snarling jaws of hounds that bite––
So loud, so near, they seem to fill my head.
Be near to me.

Food has no taste; no rest is found in bed.
Though weary, I can find no sleep at night.
Accusers’ torches are my only light.
Please, don’t leave me! Please, don’t leave me for dead!
Be near to me.

Appearances, like grifters’ long-con game
Appeal and ply and prod and lie and woo,
But near and far reversed have they, in truth;
And you hear ev’ry whisper of your name.
Be near to me.

The congregation swells with eagerness,
And I can’t wait to tell them all the news:
“The same our fathers had, for me and you!
The power mixed with wondrous loveliness!”
Be near to me.


What is a Tennyson?

Noah, Daniel, and Job (Modified Tennyson)


Dry days of weddings, parties, and soirées
Attended by none who could read the sky;
None attended the darkening clouds’ swell, rise:
They mocked the shipwright who had been giv’n grace.
He couldn’t wash them clean.

Fattening vegetables, uncooking fire
Grew and refined four faithful Hebrew boys
Who did not dance to idle music toys,
Or bow and pray to any other Sire.
From lions they can’t free.

Tornadoes, raiders, disease, and fools’ lies
Compounded the great anguish of his soul;
Yet, even humbled, held on to his hope
That he would see Redemption with his eyes.
On his hurt they can’t lean.

A greater Shipwright offers us a way—
The only way out from the lions’ pit:
He suffers, though no sin did He commit,
That through Him alone we in hope are raised.
In Him now we are seen.


Remember the Covenant (Tennyson)

He put away His weapons of warfare:
The fountains of the deep, rains from the skies;
He set, in clouds, His bow before all eyes,
Aimed Selfward, His cov’nant He prepared
To remember.

He shoved aside the waters of the Sea,
Laid bare a road through Jordan’s muddy flood;
Credential-stones piled up in future would
Explain His goodness to posterity–
To remember.

The blesséd, broken Loaf He gave to eat:
The blesséd, bloody Cup He gladly served
To prove to us His will can’t be deterred,
To show to us that He will never cease
To remember.


Sons of Oil (Tennyson)

Awoken as from deep sleep I was shown
Between two olive trees, fertile and green–
The oil flowed golden, but no hand was seen–
A seven-lamped menorah made of gold.
By My Spirit.

The angel asked me if I knew these things,
But I denied possession of the truth.
So he told me, “This word I give to you
Is for Zerubbabel, the Signet Ring.”
By My Spirit.

“The mountain of hostility you face
Will before you become a level plain.
The work you started will not be in vain;
I will give greater glory in this place.”
By My Spirit.

“The day of small things you must not despise:
The seven eyes of Yahweh roam the earth,
And He alone, who made man from the dirt,
Can see significance through all of time.”
By My Spirit.

“So trust in Him, Zerubbabel, and lead,
With Joshua the Priest, His tender flock
To trust the One who only is our Rock,
To work and sweat because His smile has freed.”
By My Spirit.


Roll of the Dice (Tennyson)

With the trek to Joppa, the dice were cast
And I thought I saw sevens when I found
A lucky freighter: it was Tarshish-bound!
The rolling dice said bad fortune was past:
The lot was mine.

The dice were cast with a nap in the hold
Of the storm-rocked crib where I took a nap
Until the pit boss woke me with a slap:
“Call out to your god for rescue, be bold!”
The lot was mine.

The fearful sailors met to cast the dice,
The troublemaker to identify,
To ply him with questions, to find out why
Their ship was assailed by a storm this size:
The lot was mine.

Then the Sovereign whose loaded dice I threw
Resolutely, calmly crossed His own sea
Spent three days and nights beneath
Then rose again to proclaim the Good News:
“The lot was mine.”