Saith the Preacher

(Ecclesiastes 1 v. 2)
Murray flat-lands 1933

I told them where they stood in God’s eyes and
in mine. But she defied me, said if I’d agreed
when they first asked me months before the need
for this – this haste, she called it, might have been
less pressing now. I had been firm, refused
of course, she barely twenty. What? The man?
Well, nothing definite, not much that you
could put your finger on. He’s not a fool
exactly, plys his trade, but popular l’m told.
Respected by his colleagues at the school
for what that’s worth but, well, between ourselves,
not one of us you know. He argues too.
Another thing, a name like that, no need
to guess at where his people came from though
I’m not a bigot, never have been. There
were other things to be considered, she
a Pastor’s daughter. Synod meetings when
there’s nothing said aloud but you can see
them thinking yet. Most families share
these burdens, mine – well, best forgotten. So
I changed my mind, besides his transfer came.
One must be flexible of course and Clare
is far enough away, no one need know.

But that’s a year ago and not a line.
She owes me that in conscience and besides
my duty’s clear at least, that child will need
firm guidance, knowing her. But that’s behind
us now – forgiven, too, in charity. But still
a year and not a word in all that time.
I asked my wife this moming (thick as thieves
those two, they always were). She said we’d know
in God’s good time no doubt and smiled again.
She seems to smile a lot just lately though
I fail to see the reason – nothing’s changed.

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