Good, In Other Words (poem)

by | Apr 2, 2024 | 4 Hunger & Thirst, Poetry

Good, In Other Words
J. Marshall Jenkins

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst
for righteousness, for they will be filled (Mt 5:6).

He wanted to do something good,
the meaning of which he worked and reworked
with improvising mind and earnest heart,
with feet and hands, ears and mouth.
Not realizing all along what he was realizing,
more and more he heard whispers
that he almost knew the good but not quite,
almost was good, but not enough.
Hoping to belong, he said things
he thought he believed, filled in blanks
with talking points from fellow outsiders sporting
truth-shaped lumps in their pockets.
Weathered philosophers consigned to silence,
poets wiping filmy words for clearer views,
gray parishioners in stained glass light
breathing color into hymns,
watched with iconic eyes squarely facing him.
It took something bad – a pink slip, a betrayal,
a diagnosis, a losing bet, a tree barreling
toward his windshield – for him to hear the good
ask, “Who am I? In other words, Who are you?”
Then he seized the chance to answer with his life.

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  1. Cinda McGuinn

    Marshall this poem has a powerful impact. I’ve had to read it several times to really appreciate your rich vivid imagery. I especially love “truth shaped lumps in their pockets” and “poets wiping filmy words for clearer views”. I suppose the thirsting after righteousness is a deep hunger for our life to have meaning and purpose. To give one’s life can mean a lifetime of service all the way to being killed while courageously trying to serve others, like those food relief workers in Gaza. I hope all is well with you and yours. Much Love, Cinda

    • J. Marshall Jenkins

      Thank you especially for honoring the food relief workers who died in Gaza. All the Beatitudes honor them, culminating in, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”


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