Pansies in August

On August 9, 1967 at 816 East 18th St. in Odessa, Texas, I was sitting at the kitchen table of the parsonage with a heavy-laden heart, for some antagonistic members were attempting to subvert our pastoral ministry.  As I looked out the window, I saw some pansies blooming under three sapling live oaks – all of which I had planted that spring in that arid soil.  It was my first ever attempt at composing “poetry” of sorts:

Lo, a pansy blooms in August
                Amidst the broiling sun.
I look from my kitchen window
                And count the fragile blossoms
                                One by one.
“We’ve been well watered
                The whole summer through!” …
I hear them chant.
                “The tender branches
Of three young oaks
                Have given us shameless shade
Against August’s noon-day sun,”
                Exalt the pansies.
“But why, you purple-faced gnomes,
                Have you not withered
As did your brothers?
                For it is August
And the broiling sun
                Should have driven you
The way of all flesh …
                Long ago!”
The Spring is gone,
                The summer’s hot.
And lo, a pansy blooms in August!
The fragile faces
                Smile up at me and cry:
“Thanks for the water!”
                And I reply:
“Only God can make you grow
                And only He can sustain you.”
Lo, a pansy blooms in August …
How much more shall God not grant
                Me His forgiveness
Won by His Son
                Who withered in the broiling
Sun long ago
                So that I might live,
Miraculously, freely!
Lo, a pansy blooms in August.
                So, God, sustain me too,
And guide me!

Copyright by Rev. Dr. Elmer M. Hohle

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