Arrivals (a poem by Robert Rife)

By Robert Rife

The soup is better having room to steep
in the deeper time of its own goodness.
Many things unite in one great thing.
We learn hunger.

The ground, now patched and sown together
with summer’s glowing refuse, is somehow brighter –
having taken its time.
We learn beauty.

Her pleasure, no fait accompli,
but in a reverence for slow heights.
Climb slowly this peak.
We learn desire.

Her tiny immensity, a sacred squalor, protrudes
nose first, dark to light, damp and cold –
one last hurrah of anonymity before donning
the first breaths of vulnerability.
We learn awe.

Pulled nose first into the warmth
of kitchen bread, newly plump and rising to greet us
square in tongue and tonsil, teasing
and teaching the crust-browned life.
We learn perfection.

Shoes, worn and well-gravelled, grind away
at the miles. A distance made less with repetition –
repetition of repeated renewals of the long
overcoming of road.
We learn perseverance.

And, in all of it remains the best of all our waiting.
One arrives, caught in the minutiae of the cosmic unseen.
Here to surprise our own expectations.
Come to convince us of lost remembrances.
The one great beauty in our catalogue of fear.

We learn salvation.


Robert Rife is Minister of Worship and Music at Yakima Covenant Church in Yakima, Washington. A multi-instrumentalist (including Highland Bagpipes), singer-songwriter-arranger (his CD, Be That As It May, is available on iTunes), studio musician, choral director, and liturgist, Rob holds a B.A. in music and an M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Leadership.  Find his writings on innerwoven and Robslitbits as well as at Spring Arbor UniversityConversations Journal for whom he also writes the print magazine study guide, and CenterQuest, an ecumenical school for Spiritual Direction. His poetry and music are featured on the ALTARWORKS website.


Photo by Inbal Malca on Unsplash

3 Replies to “Arrivals (a poem by Robert Rife)”

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