Entering the Sea of Reeds

This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by James Green.

“And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.” – Exodus 14:21

Entering the Sea of Reeds

A Midrash says each generation flees
from its own Egypt, reaches its own Sea
of Reeds, then stalls to look forward in fear
and protests to whomever brought them there.

Although, the author adds, when that tribe faced
its Sea of Reeds and checked its doubt and ceased
complaining long enough to gauge the depth
with anxious stare, it entered step-by-step.

As water rose to knees, then waist, then mouth,
and when their nostrils flared to gasp for breath,
and briny spray from cresting waves began
to seep into their lungs, the ragged band

attempted one more step, but only then
did a miracle begin.

James Green has published five chapbooks of poetry, one of which, Long Journey Home, was winner of the 2019 Charles Dickson Chapbook Contest sponsored by the Georgia Poetry Society, and his most recent, Ode to El Camino de Santiago and Other Poems of Journey, was published this year by Wipf & Stock. His individual poems have appeared in literary magazines in Ireland, the UK, and the U.S. Formerly a university professor and administrator, he is now retired and resides in Muncie, Indiana. To learn more about James and his poetry, visit his website at www.jamesgreenpoetry.net.

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