Robert Graves: In the Wilderness

In the Wilderness

Christ of His gentleness Thirsting and hungering, Walked in the wilderness; Soft words of grace He spoke Unto lost desert-folk That listened wondering. He heard the bitterns call From ruined palace-wall, Answered them brotherly. He held communion With the she-pelican Of lonely piety. Basilisk, cockatrice, Flocked to his homilies, With mail of dread device, With monstrous barbéd slings, With eager dragon-eyes; Great rats on leather wings And poor blind broken things, Foul in their miseries. And ever with Him went, Of all His wanderings Comrade, with ragged coat, Gaunt ribs—poor innocent— Bleeding foot, burning throat, The guileless old scapegoat; For forty nights and days Followed in Jesus' ways, Sure guard behind Him kept, Tears like a lover wept.