General George Washington at Prayer at Valley Forge, by James Edward Kelly
“Everything begins in mysticism and ends in politics,” said my friend.
But the body politic is not my body.
I am the Mystical Body, the E Pluribus Unum,
A heavenly internationale of brotherhood.
I am the head and your people are my bones, flesh and blood.
They are the sign of my kingdom to come.
As I wait, I listen to your hymn, a divine prelude,
Of endless skies and graceful harvests.
You are my brave little solider, forged for a purpose.
A nation of Joans that fear the fires,
Yet always answers honor’s summons.
Heed only my word, and do not listen to the flames.
But you are mischievous children,
Stealing my praise and carving it on coins,
Playing like caesars, while you play innocent with me.
You would eat your cake and keep it too if I let you!
You are a sign of contradiction, a teacher’s pet,
Strutting about in your coat of many colors,
Proclaiming my commands,
While forgetting your lessons.
I know all your tricks, my clever copycats.
You plucked my eyes for your stars,
And drank my blood and water for your stripes.
(My back was striped too)
When you leave me for those cold toys,
I grow angry, but then you surprise me,
By running back with great hot tears,
And my love I cannot deny thee.
You are my last child, the one that stayed young
For so long.
Do not forget me as you grow old…
…if you must age, but do not grow cold.
For your gates are mine, you poor, miserable ones.
I would free you from sin to see and breathe my glory.
I am standing at your door and knocking,
But only the flame bearing virgin is there to greet me.
Yet your mercy is a bother to all the world.
While the elder brothers seek your death,
You give scandal and stay the sword hand.
I love this shameful weakness best.
So there will always be a room in my unruly house for you.
And a place at my table, my darling child.
When I ring the bell, I hear your running feet from a long way off.
I will come out to meet you and gather you inside.
There I long to hear you pray the blessing,
The words you know by heart.
My youngest child of the nations, forget me not,
And never shall we part.