5. Blind Bartimeus


Be not impatient, Chilion; it is pleasant
To sit here in the shadow of the walls
Under the palms, and hear the hum of bees,
And rumor of voices passing to and fro,
And drowsy bells of caravans on their way
To Sidon or Damascus. This is still
The City of Palms, and yet the walls thou seest
Are not the old walls, not the walls where Rahab
Hid the two spies, and let them down by cords
Out of the window, when the gates were shut,
And it was dark. Those walls were overthrown
When Joshua's army shouted, and the priests
Blew with their seven trumpets.


When was that?


O my sweet rose of Jericho, I know not.
Hundreds of years ago. And over there
Beyond the river, the great prophet Elijah
Was taken by a whirlwind up to heaven
In chariot of fire, with fiery horses
That is the plain of Moab; and beyond it
Rise the blue summits of Mount Abarim,
Nebo and Pisgah and Peor, where Moses
Died, whom the Lord knew face to face, and whom
He buried in a valley, and no man
Knows of his sepulchre unto this day.


Would thou couldst see these places, as I see them.


I have not seen a glimmer of the light
Since thou wast born I never saw thy face,
And yet I seem to see it; and one day
Perhaps shall see it; for there is a Prophet
In Galilee, the Messiah, the Son of David,
Who heals the blind, if I could only find him.
I hear the sound of many feet approaching,
And voices, like the murmur of a crowd!
What seest thou?


A young man clad in white
Is coming through the gateway, and a crowd
Of people follow.


Can it be the Prophet!
O neighbors, tell me who it is that passes?


Jesus of Nazareth.

BARTIMEUS , crying .

O Son of David!
Have mercy on me!


Peace, Blind Bartimeus!
Do not disturb the Master.

BARTIMEUS , crying more vehemently .

Son of David,
Have mercy on me!


See, the Master stops.
Be of good comfort; rise, He calleth thee!

BARTIMEUS , casting away his cloak .

Chilion! good neighbors! lead me on


What wilt thou
That I should do to thee?


Good Lord! my sight —
That I receive my sight!


Receive thy sight!
Thy faith hath made thee whole!


He sees again!

C HRISTUS passes on. The crowd gathers round B


I see again; but sight bewilders me!
Like a remembered dream, familiar things
Come back to me. I see the tender sky
Above me, see the trees, the city walls,
And the old gateway, through whose echoing arch
I groped so many years; and you, my neighbors;
But know you by your friendly voices only.
How beautiful the world is! and how wide!
Oh, I am miles away, if I but look!
Where art thou, Chilion?


Father, I am here.


Oh let me gaze upon thy face, dear child!
For I have only seen thee with my hands!
How beautiful thou art! I should have known thee;
Thou hast her eyes whom we shall see hereafter!
O God of Abraham! Elion! Adonai!
Who art thyself a Father, pardon me
If for a moment I have thee postponed
To the affections and the thoughts of earth,
Thee, and the adoration that I owe thee,
When by thy power alone these darkened eyes
Have been unsealed again to see thy light!
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.