United States, (b. 1925)
The Jesus Infection
- Jesus is with me
- on the Blue Grass Parkway going eastbound.
- His is with me
- on the old Harrodsburg Road coming home.
- I am listening
- to country gospel music
- in the borrowed Subaru.
- The gas pedal
- and the words
- leap to the music.
- O throw out the lifeline!
- Someone is drifting away.
- Flags fly up in my mind
- without my knowing
- where they’ve been lying furled
- and I am happy
- living in the sunlight
- where Jesus is near.
- A man is driving his polled Herefords
- across the gleanings of a cornfield
- while I am bound for the kingdom of the free.
- At the little trestle bridge that has no railing
- I see that I won’t have to cross Jordan alone.
- Signposts every mile exhort me
- to Get Right With God
- and I move over.
- There’s a neon message blazing
- at the crossroad
- catty-corner to the Burger Queen:
- Ye Come With Me.
- It is well with my soul, Jesus?
- It sounds so easy
- to be happy after the sunrise,
- to be washed in the crimson flood.
- Now I am tailgating
- and I read a bumper sticker
- on a Ford truck full of Poland Chinas.
- Its says: Honk If You Know Jesus
- and I do it.
- My sound blats out for miles
- behind the pigsqueal
- and it’s catching in the front end,
- in the axle,
- in the universal joint,
- this rich contagion.
- We are going down the valley on a hairpin turn,
- the swine and me, we’re breakneck in
- we’re leaning on
- the everlasting arms.
About the Poet:
Maxine Kumin (b. 1925) is a U.S. poet and author. She received her B.A. in 1946 and her M.A. in 1948 from Radcliffe College. She has taught and held held appointments as a visiting lecturer and poet in residence at many American colleges and universities including
Tufts University, Brandeis University, University of Massachusetts—Amherst, MIT, Princeton, Columbia and New England College.
Kumin has been the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award. She was the poetry consultant for the Library of Congress in 1981-1982 and was the Poet Laureate of New Hampshire, and a former Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets.
Kumin’s poetry collections include Where I Live: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010 (2010), Still to Mow (2007), Jack and Other New Poems (2005), The Long Marriage (2003), Selected poems, 1960-1990 (1997), Our Ground Time Here Will Be Brief (1982), and Up Country: Poems of New England (1972), for which she received the Pulitzer Prize. [DES-03/12]