The Heart

by Richard Stoltzfoos

in respectful imitation of G. Herbert

Thy heartbeat large and slow,        I hear ’t beat deep and low.
Thou giver of all good,                    An artery of blood,
Blood-bearing, only giving             And thereby living—
Thy gifts are never naught,             Nor null to aught
Who joyfully receives,                      And knows no scarlet stain
From Him was shed in vain.          But to the one who grieves,
Thyself and naught else give,         Then only shall I live.
Mad’st thou me only brave,           Naught were I but a knave.
Mad’st thou me only strong,         Then stronger still is wrong.
Gav’st thou me prudent sight,      I still should need Thy light.
Thy self, and not a gift,                   My soul shall lift;
For naught but Thee                       Can cover me.
O shelter me, my God,                    And cause to cease from me
      Thy wrathful floods,
And take away Thy rod,                 Unless it gentle be,
      With tender buds.


Richard Stoltzfoos is the son of Adin,
son of Wilmer,
son of Elam,
son of Moses,
son of Samuel,
son of John,
son of Christian,
son of Nicholas Stoltzfus,
who in the year 1766 emigrated from Europe,
being born of Christian Gottlieb Stoltzfus,
of the Saxon line of that name
which began in the year of our Lord 400,
by the provision of God, in German Saxony.


Photography by Kenneth Godoy

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