“How”—(The disciple)

“How”—(The disciple)

(The Saviour of the World, Vol IV, Book I, Poem XXVI)

Feeding the Birds, by J. F. Millet

The children sit without the cottage door;

Quiescent sit they—hands and feet at rest

And necks all stretched one way, where sits before

Her little flock of nurslings, mother blest;

She holds full porringer and spoon, atilt,

Her stool towards her children, brooding love

In all her posture shows; that none be spilt,

Doth she with careful spoon lean from above

To where the three sit hungry at her feet;—

Trustful, expectant, is the upturned face

Of every tender fledgeling, ah, so sweet!

With ready mouths, quiet they sit in place

And wait unanxious on her ministering hand;

Why should they fear? It is their mother feeds;

Wide-mouthed, they wait, nor eager make demand;—

Their mother, knows she not her children’s needs?

And every several mouth receives the spoon

Until the bowl be emptied; satisfied

And glad the children play; but very soon,

They’ll come again for meat, and she’ll provide;—

Again she’ll sit with porringer and feed

Her hungry brood; to-morrow, ’tis the same;

The children come with quick-recurring need

For bread and love,—and doth their mother blame?

······

Our Father, at Thy doorstep, see, we kneel,

Wide-mouthed we wait the bit Thy hands shall give;

Thou who hast hungered, bring us now our meal,
That fed by Thee we may go forth and live
Strong in that meat which is Thy flesh indeed:

We know not how Thou giv’st it; this we know—

As children nourished are we; utter need

Supplied through that Thou givest, strong we go.

Content Thy children go, and satisfied:

With open mouth, we run to Thee again—

“Our Father, feed! that bread Thou did’st provide

Is all consumed! This other time sustain!”

And He who loves us hastes to bring our meat;

That meat which is His life He offereth free;

Grieves He that we should come about His feet,—

His hungry children gather at His knee?

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