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[Jim Ayers] Skin

We are honored to share a poem by Jim Ayers, a good friend of the Green Street Girls and a beloved and tirelessly active member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Durham. He is originally from Georgia, but Durham has claimed him for a long time.

Holy Week blessings from your friends at Profligate Grace. – ALH and KNS

It was a cold place and the wind blew strong enough to peel the skin from my bones.
I begged for a warm house and a roaring fire in a hearth.
He gave me a coat.

It was a dry place and the sun would have burned the skin from my bones.
I begged for a cold stream, a smooth pool to wash away the heat.
He gave me a cup of tepid water.

It was a lonesome place and emptiness would have shriveled the skin from my bones.
I begged for a party with friends who loved me.
He gave me a singing bird at my window.

It was a hurting place and pain would have peeled the skin from my bones.
I begged for a balm on my soul to soothe away the agony.
He gave me a night of troubled sleep.

It was a raging place and the anger would have cut the skin from my bones.
I begged for a sword to drive away my enemy.
He gave me tears.

Why! Why!
Just a coat and not a fireplace?
Just a cup and not a pool?
Just a bird and not a party?
Just sleep and not a balm?
Just tears and not a sword?
Why?

He showed me a whip and thorns.
He showed me nails and a spear.
He showed me lashed, torn, skin with wounds and punctures.
“What are these things?” I asked Him, “Must I look at them?”
“I will take the coat and cup and bird and sleep and tears.
“They are enough.”

Then He put me in a house,
With a fireplace and a pool,
Friends and good conversation,
Peace and safety.
And He gave me new skin, smooth, unwounded, strong.

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