Prester John

‘It is all true, or it ought to be.’
Winston Churchill
on the truth of the Arthurian Legends

Prester John,
Where are you?

Where is the Church as it should be,
But beyond our ken
Hidden in legend and mystery?

In weariness we lift our eyes
And long again for what was
Or might have been,
And what may still be.

We see, we dream, we hope—
Out there, unspoilt, unspotted,
In some unsung, undiscovered land,
Beyond the desert’s sea of weeds and sand
A wild vine is grafted in.
Wild yet fresh,
Still in love’s first blush
Where Spirit’s bloom has triumphed
Over sin and blood and nature’s thrush.

Where goes your flock
Unfitted yet to harness or to plow?
We hear their anthems’ holy tamed yet savage roar.
As young yearlings they still prance and wait,
Unaware of religion’s weighty saddle
Or its earned and learned gait.

Washed yet unwashed,
Lost, yet found,
Out of sight our hopes are pinned upon you.

Your muddy matted fleece,
Your dirty coat and hide,
Are brave and princely.
They cannot hide
A Heart that dreams of Heaven’s hidden shore.

This is my prayer:

Let them come to Christendom.
Let them instruct our waning hearts
In all that Christ our King and Prester John had taught,
But we forgot.

Elliott Tepper