All She Gave

IMG_4781Just two small coins – but coins of value, true,
not just the jingling metal that betrays
my presence with each step, the coins I will,
unthinking, toss upon my bureau at
day’s end, to languish unregarded and
unwanted, not to cross another palm
to settle my just debts. No, these small coins
would buy a loaf of bread, or maybe two,
to make a meal, to stave off hunger, bring
another anxious day comforting close.

Just two small coins – but coins not changed for bread,
nor flour, nor wine, nor clothing, nor for rent –
coins placed, their mild ring near lost amidst
the clattering rain of donors’ waterfalls.
The merry ring of silver and of gold,
coin falling onto coin, a music of
the givers’ generosity. Clink, clink:
her coins descend, to vanish from the sight
of those observing, buried by the stream
and weight and hue of coins worth more than hers.

To vanish from the sight of all but you,
the teacher come from Galilee, who sees
not just the copper, buried now beneath
the gold and silver, but the bread and wine
unpurchased and the ragged seams unsewn
for want of thread. You feel as hunger gnaws,
you hear her as she lifts her plaintive call
for “mercy on a widow.” Then you turn
to your disciples, and remind your friends
of what it means to offer all you have.

A poem/prayer based on Mark 12:38-44, the Revised Common Lectionary reading for Year B, Proper 27.

Photo of two U.S. pennies by Eric Anderson.