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Poetry Pleases: The Cell

"Another's will you do, as is another's will I, too, perform'' declares Arthur Gilliland's powerful poem in the voice of the prophet, John.

The desert night can chill harder to the bone,
And make a soul long for cheering hearth and home;
But desert's chill and silent loneliness
Are nothing as to this dark, dank, stinking cell.
I say to you who wields the sword,
'No, my executioner, I, John, am not
The one whom you expect and Herod fears,
Isaiah's long-promised, often expected One'.
But, when you have robbed me of my life,
Tell your king this;
He should heed his fears if,
Stiff-necked, he makes not to repent.
Tell him he kills me in vain,
For my voice, that which Herod dreads so much,
Is only the one that calls without his door,
'Make straight the way for the Lord,'
For it is He who after me comes, all powerful;
It is He with whom your king will have to plead.
But I forgive you, my executioner,
Another's will you do,
As is another's will I, too, perform.
If you will only hear and heed my words
And seek the Lord I serve, and serve Him in your turn,
Our two souls will meet in Paradise,
To sit below His throne.

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