Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Embarrassment (01/12/12)
TITLE: Out of the mouths of babes
By Margaret Kearley
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The eager, bouncing children enter school:
The loud, the confident, the shy, retiring,
The timid ones, the ones who played the fool.
They tumbled o’er each other, pushing, shoving,
So full of joy and bright expectancy.
I gazed upon the jumping, leaping children,
And watched the progress, slow, of Jeremy.
9.05, the children burst into the classroom
And crowded round my desk, there in their hand
Each tightly clasped a chosen, special treasure
To display proudly on our Easter stand.
The day before, to all nineteen, I’d given
A round, bright plastic egg, and asked if they
Could bring today something that spoke of new life,
Reminding us of Resurrection Day.
The eggs were animatedly prised open
And spilled out on the desk, before my eyes:
A fresh green bud, a flower, a woolly toy lamb,
Moss on a rock, some plastic butterflies.
Each eagerly explained their precious finding
And held their treasure up for all to see,
But one held back, I quietly asked the question:
‘Can we see what you’ve bought us, Jeremy?’
With bright blue eyes, like clear transparent rock pools,
His gaze held mine, he stood close by my side,
We opened up the egg that lay before us,
But there was nothing stored in its inside.
My sad heart sank; he simply hadn’t grasped it,
I moved his egg, my eyes filled up with tears,
I didn’t want him to be shamed, embarrassed,
Before the inquisitive glances of his peers.
‘Miss, aren’t you going to talk now about my egg?’
He asked in clear and loud insistent tone.
‘But it was empty Jeremy’ I answered.
‘Yes, like the tomb’, he said, ‘God moved the stone’.
His face, so often blank, with joy was shining,
‘The tomb was empty, Miss, Jesus – He lives,’
And it was I who then felt shamed, embarrassed,
For not grasping the wisdom that God gives.
One summer’s day, just over three months later,
Jeremy died, with tears we stood to see
That resting carefully upon his casket
Nineteen round eggs lay nestled carefully.
Nineteen round eggs, all empty, spoke of Jeremy,
Of confident assurance, trusting belief,
Of a message that will never be forgotten,
And smiles of joy mingled with tears of grief.
(Based, I believe, on a true story)
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