by Cam M. Roberts

I remember Walter Harrelson –
The wisest man ever to grace me with the sound of his voice –
Yes, he was a retired divinity scholar
with the fiery language of antiquity,
but what’s more were those lovely brief moments
wherein Walter would pause, the sanctity of silence
felt like a salute before the taking of communion
where I barely dared breathe from anticipation
at his oncoming revelation, precise selections
of the correct words as ordained by the mandates of heaven,
full of grace, and at times his youthful candor
spoken in nods and smiles of foresight – the superlative wisdom
was a mere perk if you allowed your ears to listen
to the entire tradition of man
radiate out of him like a warmth,
quite familiar, and yet nuanced
just enough to resemble
the dry white seasons of the esoteric –

I held questions inside of me like holy sacraments,
and, at last, here was my chance to lay them at his feet.
He peppered his orations with some sly but sincere aphorisms –
I could not for the life of me disagree
in the slightest with a single one –
They carried with them their own natural devoutness
as if it were a credence I’d one day inherit.

I’ll never forget hearing him say:

1.  God reserved eternal life for himself, and decreed death to mortals.
2.  God marked Cain to punish his sin, but also to protect him from being murdered
by his fellow man, because that would’ve been a miscarriage of justice.
3.  Macular Degeneration has slowly stolen my sight, but I can nevertheless still see the light –


© CMR, 2012

2 thoughts on “Walter

  1. Clever use of internal rhyme. I particularly liked ‘the entire tradition of man / radiate out of him like a warmth.’ I had an old philosophy professor with whom I used to drink black coffee and chat about Husserl. He was a Greek Cypriot. I think he’s gone back to Cyprus now. A familiar feeling. I enjoyed this poem.

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