Canadian Poetry Online top banner link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page

A Prayer To Be In Paradise With the Children

John Terpstra


for a baptism

When I must come to you, o my God, I pray
it be in the early hours of that day,
and just as on these mornings I would rather sleep
I beg the lively company to keep
of kids, in Paradise, where rest and rising meet.
My eyes will open, I will yawn and stretch,
and to the children jumping on the bed
I shall say, "I am Johannes Terpstra,
and this is Paradise, at your pleasure."
And I shall say to them, "This house has many rooms,
its hallways are for running, take the stairs in twos,
and we'll play inside the mansions of our living God,
for all doors open to the treasures of his kinderlove."

Let me awaken with these children, Lord, in your home,
this offspring of your fondest word, who roam
the towered heart of day and lift it from the frame
our plans project; and let me be like them, the same.
I shall arise and follow the one who follows his nose,
followed by the sniffling sound of those who have a cold,
by the ones who dawdle and the ones who'd sooner shove,
by those who pile blocks in silence and those who love
to knock all such building down, by the bossy ones
and those who daily bear their brethren, by the talkers,
by the ones who, left alone, begin to eat the garden dirt
because they, o Lord, desire to taste of your creation,
which is good.
                         Let it be with these kids that I awake,
perfectly restored, inside the house your design has made
for the halt, the lame, for those whose raw deformity
stands out: the unloved, or over adored.
                                                              And let it be
that angels guide our thousand feet upon the stair
to lead us into hidden access of the secret lair
of your delights: the preparations, boxes, reels,
the paper, crayons, the fountains of water, ferris wheels.
Pamper us there, for whom the faith is one, waking up
on this morning or that. O Lord God, fill the cup

When I must come to you, I pray
it be at any time of any day,
and if my eyes were closed, I shall awake
now, to Paradise, having seen your grace
fall somewhat like rain upon this one child's face.



John Terpstra's works copyright © to the author.


Canadian Poetry Online bottom banner link to University of Toronto Libraries home page link to Digital Collections home page link to University of Toronto Library catalogue link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page