Saturday Poem

The Preacher's Grace

“I ain’t sayin’ I’m, like Jesus, but I got tired like Him, an’ I got mixed up like him, an’ I went into the wilderness like Him.

Night time I’d lay on my back an’ look at the stars; morning I’d set an’ watch the sun come up; midday I’d look out from a hill at the rollin’ dry country; evenin’ I’d foller the sun down. Sometimes I’d pray like I’d always done. Only I couldn’t figure out what I was prayin’ for. There was the hills, an’ there was me, an’ we wasn’t separate no more. We was one thing. An’ that one thing was holy.

“An’ I got to thinkin’, only it wasn’t thinkin’, it was deeper down than thinkin’. I got thinkin’ how we was holy when we was one thing, an’ mankind was holy when it was one thing. An’ it only got unholy when one miserable little fella got the bit in his teeth an’ run off his own way, kickin’ and draggin’ and fightin’. Fella like that bust the holiness. But when they’re all workin’ together, not one fella for another fella, but one fella kind of harnessed to the whole shebang—that’s right, that’s holy. An’ then I got thinkin’ I don’t even know what I mean by holy.”

“I can’t say grace like I used to say. I’m glad of the holiness of breakfast. I’m glad there’s love here. That’s all.”

by John Steinbeck
from The Grapes of Wrath