dangerous river

This poem is from a series of poems I wrote for the Southwell Minster (Southwell, Nottinghamshire, UK,) magazine.  As some were specifically meant for children, I invented a class of children with their imaginary teacher, Miss McPherson.  As I went from poem to poem, I got to know Miss McPherson and her children well and was very fond of them all.  It was good to read the responses from people of all ages who read these poems.  They were published in other magazines but I remain as attached to them now as I was when I  first wrote them.

             THE GLORY MARCH

‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’
Miss McPherson cried.
‘Why, children,’ she said, before we could speak,
‘It was to get to the other side.
Like Joshua crossing the Jordan River,
With his people, the Israelites.’
Then Miss McPherson told the story
Of Joshua and his march of glory.

‘Moonlight glittered on the tents of evening,
Its silver light all glittering and gleaming
Into the eyes of the people waiting
For Joshua to lead them across the Jordan,
Through the pearly dawn of an early morning.
In their tents, they all heard the roaring,
The rushing and the racing of the furious waters,
That made them afraid and set them awailing,
Wailing and weeping that the river would drown them.
But Joshua slept the whole of the night,
For he’d asked God to see them right.’

When Miss McPherson stopped for breath,
Harry put up his hand and said,
‘End of story.  That lot’s dead!’
But Miss McPherson shook her head.
‘Not so, Harry,’ she grinned and chortled.
‘Why, when Joshua reached the banks of the Jordan,
With the Israelites ranged all about and around him,
The water had gone!  Not a drop remaining!
God had emptied that river and stopped the water,
So that Joshua and his people could cross without danger,
To the rich green shores of the land of Canaan.’

We cheered!  We cried, ‘Well done, God!’ we clapped.
‘So, remember, children,’ Miss McPherson said,
You can cross any river you have to cross
When God is at your back.’
And Clyde muttered, ‘Yeah!  Right on!’

                                  © Gwen Grant

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