The Moses Man (1927-1955), Mary Willette Hughes

I tell you, the very stones would cry out.
                                                Palm Sunday Gospel
                                                            Luke 19:40

You stand before thirteen tons of gray Indiana
limestone.  For four long years we watch you,
sculptor, set free a triptych in deep bas relief
as you listen to the radio’s soul-blue-beat of jazz.

You choose hammer and chisel to follow lines
sketched on rough, textured stone.  Strike and
chip, strike and chip.  Dust shards enter your
lungs, wrists gone to pain are cloth bound.

A young Christ emerges from the center block,
riding a sad-eared donkey.  You chisel his mouth
and open his hands to touch, to feel, to heal
his father’s world.  Our fingers trace curved cold

faces, the gaunt figures.  Your ageless poor speak
with stone mouths that echo our idle, hollow hands.
Like a Moses man come down the mountain,
your stone becomes the word.

Reprinted with the permission of the Liturgical Press, the Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota, from Divine Favor: The Art of Joseph O’Connell. Editor, Colman O’Connell. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, c1999.  CSB, SJU and SJP Libraries Oversize N 6537.O265 D58 1999.