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Father Swan

Father, I thank you
I thank you that today my mother is with her swans
As I, her son, sit in a prison solitary cell
I thank you that she sits in your presence
I whom she has loved and served so faithfully
She whom I have loved and admired
I thank you that she is secure
May your angels visit there as never before
May your servants watch over and nurture her
Speak Lord, breathe truth, destiny and healing
May your Living Waters break forth in the desert
You promised her we'd come into the Holy City
She's there in a way, now with her swans
Perhaps I am too, more than it feels
I pray it is so
Father of all swans, hold us close
You called us to his path
You ordained this Job's journey
You will surely carry us through it
There is nothing we encounter
Which you have not foreseen
All of life is in your hands
As are we, in this moment
So I look to you alone
To bring us both to our swans
With whom we can fly away in grace
No longer ugly ducklings
But home at last
Forever with Father Swan

Stephen Pursell,
original: 4/9/04, revised: 9/12/14

During my years in prison I walked as a christian and thus was the object of much hatred for my ability to love those who are generally rejected by criminally-minded prison culture. My refusal to participate in prison inmate politics and my open demonstrations of love for my christian brothers(and others I reached out to in God's love) from varying racial and cultural backgrounds was feared and hated by men of evil intent. As a result I was physically attacked many times. Since the prison system does not care whether or not one is defending himself against an unprovoked attack and it only seeks to accuse, condemn, punish and abuse I was always thrown in solitary confinement for defending myself. I remember specifically(and recognize we the paper on which the original was penciled) that this poem came during one of those passages through solitary confinement due to persecution, one after which I had had to fight a man much bigger than me to avoid being abused even worse.  But what a blessing to be persecuted for the the Lord and share in his sufferings! Hallelujah!