Evening in Galilee, An

She looks far west towards Carmel, shading her eyes with her hand,
And she then looks east to the Jordan, and the smooth Tiberias' strand.
" Is my son mad?" she asks; and never an answer has she,
Save from herself, aghast at the possibility.
" He professes as his firm faiths things far too grotesque to be true,
And his vesture is odd — too careless for one of his fair young hue! . . .

" He lays down doctrines as if he were old — aye, fifty at least:
In the Temple he terrified me, opposing the very High-Priest!
Why did he say to me, " Woman, what have I to do with thee? "
O it cuts to the heart that a child of mine thus spoke to me!
And he said, too, " Who is my mother? " — when he knows so very well.
He might have said, " Who is my father? " — and I'd found it hard to tell!
That no one knows but Joseph and — one other, nor ever will;
One who'll not see me again. . . . How it chanced! — I dreaming no ill! . . .

" Would he'd not mix with the lowest folk — like those fishermen —
The while so capable, culling new knowledge, beyond our ken! . . .
That woman of no good character, ever following him,
Adores him if I mistake not: his wish of her is but a whim
Of his madness, it may be, outmarking his lack of coherency;
After his " Keep the Commandments! " to smile upon such as she!
It is just what all those do who are wandering in their wit.
I don't know — dare not say — what harm may grow from it.
O a mad son is a terrible thing; it even may lead
To arrest, and death! . . . And how he can preach, expound, and read!

" Here comes my husband. Shall I unveil him this tragedy-brink?
No. He has nightmares enough. I'll pray, and think, and think." . . .
She remembers she's never put on any pot for his evening meal,
And pondering a plea looks vaguely to south of her — towards Jezreel.
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