July 17, 2008

Tractor Pull at the County Fair

First the pitch of engine froth
a jet black plume of smoke,
darks the edges of Old Glory
in the fumes she soaks.

"Two-hundred ninety feet!" he cries
just aft the Deere did halt,
"Two-hundred ninety feet!" was said
of the tractor that had no fault.

"Not a good place for the flag,"
I say while walking to the truck,
but tis true, I guess, that God and flags
don't mind getting in the muck.

* * *

St. Ambrose, from today's Office of Readings:
Wearing the garments given her in the rebirth by water, the Church says, in the words of the Song of Songs: I am black but beautiful, daughters of Jerusalem. Black because of the frailty of humanity, beautiful through grace; black because she is made up of sinners, beautiful through the sacrament of faith. When they see these garments the daughters of Jerusalem cry out in wonder: Who is this who comes up, all in white? She was black, how is she suddenly made white? When Christ sees his Church clothed in white – for her sake he himself had put on filthy clothing, as you may read in the prophecy of Zechariah – when he sees the soul washed clean by the waters of rebirth, he cries out: How beautiful you are, my beloved, how beautiful you are...

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