Grandfather sits and begins breakfast,
Staring into is coffee cup….
He is a Calvinist to be sure, sound and wise
if settled in his ways. He believes
in hell, and firmly in damnation, but
will not call it down. He sees himself
growing out of this world: trying hard
not to grow bitter. He folds
his glasses into his pocket, his paper,
and sets it aside. Rises. Stands
very still at the window, hands
on the ledge, looking out across the snow.
And when you see him, you remember
Christ in the weakness of his power
weeping over Jerusalem. And from the cross
praying a final forgiveness. Now,
seeing him, you have to believe
that this is not futile, what he does.
That here, at least, prayer is valid.
This once, and for this little while
you have to believe.
Robert D. Swets, Grandfather, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, 1970s?