The Sustainer

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Sentinel of the night, as the Word explains;
Woman of strength, whose love never drains.
Her lamp doesn't dim when darkness or grief
Casts long shadows. And the only relief
Is her bonding oil, generously spent,
To brighten lives within her radiance.

Vigilant at the side of those stricken ill;
Sometimes she's silent, sometimes still.
Though weary from long days, anxious eyes
And all senses alert for the faintest sighs;
For a fever to ease, or rashes to leave.
No task is undone for her conceived;
Her comforting touch and affection expressed
To quiet a small frame in fitful unrest.
Her busy hands, like fluttering doves,
Minister healing and her love.

Arms warmly curve to calm and caress
Or press a small head against her breast.
Uncaring for the dawn or dusk
But only for a sick one's trust
And that the miracle of her womb
Awakens healthy in that room.

The maternal web spins in gentle fashion
Over the grapes of her vineyard with compassion.
Placebo bandaids are among those she applies
As she responds to countless cries:
The sprains, the cuts and the abrasions
From sidewalks, sharp edges and human equasions.
For some hurts, a bandage of different dimension
Eases turbulent inner tension;
Soft words to restore a spirit, broken
By poor image, fear or some words spoken.

Sacrifices for her family's sake
Make fantasy of an eight-hour break.
Up with the wail of a tiny soul
Seeking nourishment from a bowl;
Or tracing the shriek of another child
Frightened by a dream, sobbing and riled.
Then the march to the kitchen with the dawn
To see her school charges gone.
That done, now the laundry calls;
Chasing bargains in the malls;
Baking cakes for birthday fun
To mark the advance of a daughter or son;
Gifts to widen eager eyes
With candle-pleasure and surprise.

A lullaby and a rocking chair
Suffice during the maiden years of care;
But her treasury sparkles with other gold
For the older years and tears of her fold;
Advising and nurturing through teenage stages
And well beyond, to silver stages.

She spurns new dresses or a pair of shoes,
The old and worn will have to do
So, according to the scriptural thread,
Her fortunate family can stay ahead
And wear scarlet and purple clothes.
In Biblical terms, the whole neighborhood knows;
She's raised up and lauded at the city gate.
Blessed by her children, praised by her mate.

The weaker vessel; graceful, wise and strong,
Who shows us how to sing life's song;
A queen who makes us royalty
With an angel's light and nobility.