Dedicated to the healing angel who fixed my rosary the other day.
From burning empyrean sphere
An angel does leap down,
Descends to Bethsaida’s mere
And stirs its waters round.
The healing angel, Raphael
It is we may be sure
Who makes Probatica to swell,
Men’s misery to cure.
Upon its porches five they wait
To watch the surface break,
Like yearling sheep behind the gate
Their shepherd them to take.
One at a time and that is all
The angel waters heal
When in the tarn he goes withal
And does its wetness feel.
A certain man lies waiting there
As helpless as can be.
He sees a Stranger at him stare
With kindness and pity.
Returns the glance this crippled man,
Sad and suppliantly,
His arms outstretched to their full span
In rueful mercy plea.
“I have no man, when moves the pool
to put me in the wave.
For eight and thirty years so cruel
Comes no man me to save.
(poem continues beneath image…)
“I languish here without a cure
Years eight and ten times three.
The angel’s grace in waters pure
Does not remain for me.
“For when I lumber to the shore
And try to lave myself,
There goes another man before,
His frame restor’d to health.
“Sir, can you help me in my need
In mystic pond to wash?
For eight and thirty years indeed
Is long and cruel and harsh.”
But Jesus, moved, began to talk
With calm authority:
“Arise, take up thy bed and walk.”
And so it came to be.
The Master of the ponds and pools,
Of angels and of men
Needs not the help of these, His tools.
Grace is his medicine.
The Word by Whom all that now is
Or was or yet shall be
Speaks efficacious words of His
Own might and majesty.
Good Shepherd, Christ, heal my poor soul.
Have mercy on this fool.
For I am worse than that poor wretch
At Probatica Pool.