I was saddened then, to have only dreams,
When Zacharias and Mary saw them,
Spoke with them. Four times my sleep was disturbed,
Each time with terse, practical instructions.
I was a frightened man during those years,
Traveling, running from tyrants, waiting
Each night for an angel to direct me
Where to go, what to do, fluctuating
Between impatience and faith. And the child,
The baby -- our lives were bound up in his.
I was alive merely to keep him safe.
Why, when he had an army of angels?
I felt like a rat, carrying a gem,
Scurrying from hole to hole. Finally
In Nazareth, life settled. The dreams stopped.
I died, wondering if he’d remember me.
Gabriel told me why I had those dreams.
“Archangels are terrifying,” he said,
“Even to a bold man. But one like you?
Timid, gentle? It would’ve knocked you dead.”
December 16, 2010
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