Deep are these waters, deep and moving fast,
My mind, caught in the eddy and the swing,
Falters at knowing, yet is called to know,
The wonder and the mercy of this thing.
Once I would look at lepers on the street
Shuffling past, “Unclean!” their bitter cry,
Locked up within the prison of disease –
Yet these, I knew, were far more clean than I.
I, daughter of the seed of Abraham,
Born in the covenant, the fold of God,
Was now a creature of such bitter shame
I cringed from streets where decent women trod.
I cringed, and in the lonely bitter night,
I wondered how my life had come to be
A gagging poison moving in my veins
A tremulous and hated infamy.
But oh, my story is as old as time,
When the seducer came, well, I was weak,
And ignorant, believing this was love
Soon I became the victim false men seek.
Shame spiraled down through shame, and down some more,
Until that day they grabbed me from some bed,
And hauled me forth with coarse and cruel jests
I stood there silent, broken, with bent head,
Awaiting stones; but that day no stones came
Instead clear words I never thought to hear
Turned the accusers back upon themselves.
For the first time, I felt a different fear.
I heard their footsteps leaving, one by one,
Till all was silence, then I raised my eyes.
He looked at me as though my soul were real
And there was nothing for him to despise.
I did not understand, how could I then?
My dirty life was clean. My soul reborn
Sang with the angels, laughed against the night
And rose up like a bird into the dawn.
He took my shame, I never dreamt what cost
He placed on it – for shame he paid such price!
My worthless life was reckoned at such worth:
Purification comes through sacrifice!
And so he gave what I had never sought;
And so I live, and so he died for me,
And so his dear blood has my freedom bought.
He was made captive for my liberty.
I walk in wonder, I am mercy’s thrall,
Unfeigned, unstained, a captive of delight:
Washed into whiteness, no shame to recall,And lifted into glory clean and bright.