Poetry Month: Genesis editor Paul Totah '75
Posted 04/07/2017 08:30AM

The poem below comes from The Gospel of Everyone: A Poetic Retelling of the Gospel of Luke, by Paul Totah, SI's communication director. Used with Permission of Wipf and Stock Publishers www.wipfandstock.com/the-gospel-of-everyone.html. For more on the book, go to www.paultotah.com.

The Paralytic

We five were friends since childhood,
each born only days apart, growing up together,
marrying, learning our fathers' trades.
I was stonecutter, and a home I built
broke me when a loose block fell
on the small of my back, freezing my legs.
My friends never left. They cared for my wife and child.
They brought wine and dice and tried to draw
the laughter from me they knew I still held.
But that part was frozen too.
I yelled at my family. I cursed my friends for still coming.
I stopped praying, except to curse God.
When my friends told me the stories they had heard,
a healer with the heart of the sky,
I wanted no part of it. They carried me anyway,
half-a-day's walk to the next town,
where thick crowds blocked the one badly built hall.
I could see it was poorly made. Even pointed out the loose tiles
on the roof to my pallbearers. (That's what I called these men.)
They smiled when I told them this and carried me to the hillside
behind the room and then onto the roof.
Two of them pried the tiles loose.
The other two jumped down.
Still tied to my bed,
I was handed from roof to floor
when all noise stopped, and he looked at my broken back
and saw pain, fear, hatred, rage,
and the self-pitying fool I had become.
He made me see myself. Then he forgave me
for stilling my heart all these years.
I wept when he told me to stand, to carry my bed,
to leave and start living again and see myself for who I was:
a man loved, still able to love, able to walk now
and then run, all the way home
to ask my family for forgiveness.

St. Ignatius College Preparatory

Courage to Lead; Passion to Serve

2001 37th Avenue San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 731-7500
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