States of Life



John Everett Millais, The Vale of Rest

Poverty, chastity, obedience.

The life of the child is the way of the counsels.

Poverty, chastity, obedience.

The way of the counsels is the life of a child.

The brothers and sisters know the trick,

They stay young real quick.


Father, mother, sister, brother,

They exchange one set for another.

A nursery becomes a cell.

An alarm clock and then a Matin’s bell.

But the ordered rhymes must end.

For the time of the Spirit must begin.


The wind blows where it will,

it does not explain.

A child does not question the wind,

but holds his arms wide

to be blown along.

Children don’t take the day off,

buy life insurance or retire.

Children own nothing.

They receive their daily bread,

and their clothes are laid out.

Children are told what to do,

and where to go.

The wind blows where it will,

it expects consent.

But children do get bored,

their feelings are hurt,

they get lonely.

Theirs but to pray and die.

They grow old,

but never grow up.

Poverty, chastity, obedience.

The kingdom of God is theirs.

Unless you become like them,

you will never enter the Kingdom.

But you will.

The dead know the way of the counsels.




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