by Max Dunaway
When first the dawn burst on his sight
he felt his being filled with light.
He looked at all before him spread
and vowed that he would raise the dead,
wrench gates of hell from off their bars
and laugh and fling them at the stars.
The years passed by; no dead were raised.
No mighty wonders, man-appraised,
rewarded him. Hell’s gates remained,
unshaken by hopes once entertained.
The light still shown, but with less fire
than flamed his ardent first desire.
His thought turned to the little deeds,
the common tasks of meeting needs.
He lifted up a fallen child
and wiped her tears until she smiled.
He helped a tired and burdened crone,
Someone whom he had never known.
He sat beside a dying friend
and gave him courage till the end,
then sought to soothe the aching heart
of her who felt grief’s sting and smart—
to say a word, put forth a hand,
or just be still and understand.
And years of living to be kind
brought greater love and peace of mind.
He learned to serve within his place,
Growing in gentleness and grace.
And, being forgotten, the gates of hell
in their own weakness toppled and fell.