I know, I know. I’ve expressed my antipathy for free verse more than once on this blog. And it’s true: I tend to have a strong distaste for it. I recognise there are exceptions, however. Some free verse poetry is wonderful. And when I set about to write a poem for the prompt Sarah sent me, “Someone at the Door”, a fixed form didn’t seem to work, while free verse did. So, here goes….
Rubbing the sleep from my eyes,
I stumbled towards the door.
I’d been scrubbing all day, my body now one vast ache.
But I couldn’t go to bed yet,
Not with Peter’s life in the balance.
We’d prayed and pleaded together,
But weary with work and woe
I’d fallen asleep to the sounds of prayer.
Until the bell rang, bringing me to my senses, rousing me from my dreams,
And I had to tiptoe out
To answer the door.
I peered into the darkness, and suddenly my body jarred awake,
Life tingling in every fingertip.
I was so happy that I ran to tell them–
Ran like a child.
I couldn’t wait to see the joy that would
Fill the faces of my master and his friends.
Couldn’t even wait
To open the door
And let Peter
You can laugh.
I laugh now,
To think that for joy
I left him standing in the cold and dark. Fine welcome, that!
But I did.
Bursting into the room,
I shouted over James’ “Lord, we beseech you….”
“He’s here! Stop your beseeching! Peter’s outside!”
They looked at me blankly.
“Can’t you see? You don’t need to pray any more. You’ve been answered!”
“Rhoda, you’re mad,” said Andrew.
“Mad”, they echoed.
“But he’s alive! He’s outside!”
My eagerness made me stumble over my words.
“Perhaps it’s his angel, child”, came Mary’s gentle voice.
“No”, I said, polite but firm.
Why I didn’t
Dash back to that door and drag Peter inside and shout “See!”,
I don’t know.
Maybe I was mad.
Meanwhile, the banging continued.
Someone (I don’t know who)
Slowly got up and stepped to the door.
I heard a gasp, laughter and exclamations, and Peter was ushered in.
And in my joy at their joy, I forgot to feel smug that I’d been proved right.
And really, the joke’s on me, as much as on them.
Surely Luke must have smiled as he wrote his second book,
Smile as you and many others have smiled too,
At my thoughtless eagerness,
My careless joy.