To the other side of the sea
They follow, hungry, demanding:
What will you do for us?
An imperial grain-dole from a new Moses
Whom they can push forward
As their King
Yet no Caesar is short
Two hundred denarii, or asks
Where are we to buy bread?
Prophets of a greater Lord call thus:
He who has no money,
Come, buy, and eat!
Why spend your money for that which
Is not bread, and your labour for
That which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me,
Eat what is good, and delight yourselves
In rich food.
Here in border territory
A new Passover is at hand:
A feast of bread, unleavened
by sell-by dates, by this world’s horizons
An outdoor Upper Room where wafers last
Into the life of the age to come
Not the land of Egypt, but nonetheless
they sit by the meat pots and eat bread to the full
It never was Moses who led them – who was he?
Here One presides, saying again
‘Let there be plants yielding seed –
You shall have them for food.’
The offerings are brought
But what are they for so many?
There is no meaning to scarcity
Where living sacrifices are
Taken, blessed, broken, given
Received without gathering
But what is it, this manna?
A fine, flake-like thing
Fine as frost on the ground
White coriander, honey-wafer-like?
Or is it the words, the speaker himself
Rained down from heaven?
Twelve tribes, twelve apostles
Are now a whole world, still hungry
But might my meagre lunch, myself, freely given
Yet become, in grace, this Bread
As much as each can eat
With baskets for all besides?