(In memory of Maria Faith Madson)
When the students of carpentry gathered round
To learn how to make a coffin
Did they know the dimensions of one small box
They’d someday be asked to fashion?
When they gazed upon the heavy, long boards
To be sawed and shaped and hallowed
Did one of them think he’d create a tomb
This narrow, this short, this shallow?
And did the one chosen to hone this work
While smoothing and sanding the rows
Imagine fine fingers and feet of the one
Who would today lie in repose?
Could he have foreseen this procession of
Five siblings and a mother true
Who flanked the sides of the father who bore
The feather-light load that was you?
Perhaps he did sense from some far-off place
A lamb cloth so tenderly pulled
Over the sweet little body that once
Housed a white-as-snow precious soul
He may not have known, so I cried in his stead
Sharing a mother’s grieving
While thanking our God for the gift of you
That made our hearts more heaven-leaning.