Bright May—but

Sober, somber, alone. Scored
By razored circumstance.
Emptied. So retreating
To the soothing shade of the sweet gum tree, A few pieces of stale bread in my hand

(The meager offering of the poor in spirit).
Broken, the crumbs are cast upon the plush grass.
I close my eyes to breathe a morning prayer.
When I open them, the birds are there.
How like manna
For the birds – to awake and cry,
Small bellies with bottomless hunger,
Flying, searching
Until they chance upon this bounty
Unexpected, as from nowhere,
A gift, it seems, from Life, for life.
The birds flit and flutter among the bread,
Chirping, pecking, calling.
More float down to partake of the feast;
They hop and wing, an impromptu communion,
A tribe gathered to share what has materialized before them,
What is provided in a world at turns
So harsh, so sweet.
Soon, though, the bread is gone.
So, too, the birds,
Off to seek and to find,
Gone to discover whatever other wonders
This world, this life may substantiate.
And I am alone once more but now
Elevated, thankful
For the miracle that has just now transpired before my hungry heart, For the verve and vigor I have witnessed and that will
Power me through this day
Quickened and expectant of
Whatever other wonders
This world, this life may prove
And with these words:
How like manna!

Cite this article
Joe Sarnowski, “How Like Manna”, Reformed Journal, 34:1 , 12

Joe Sarnowski

Joe Sarnowski teaches English at San Diego Christian College, Santee, California. His poetry has appeared in Old Hickory Review, Broken Streets and Mobius.