Tongues that Dance

Smidt’s burning bush has tongues of flame that dance
and leap in autumn’s winds. The oaks that shed
their dull brown leaves seem to look askance
as this tall bush so boldly flaunts her red.

I do not take my shoes off as I pass –
though Moses did when “I Am” told him to –
but stop before I hurry on to class.
“Perhaps a voice will tell me what to do,”

I muse, not for a moment thinking I
will hear reply when softly, voices brush
my ear, as sparrows sing and flit and fly
inside the flaming bush, whose tongues, I blush

to realize, are tongues of praise as well
as tongues of flame. “Give tongue to songs that flit
unsung within your heart like unrung bells,”
the voices seem to sing. “Be bold and let

your words flame out, oh, let them leap and dance.
Say that the King has come and speaks good news.
Make highways straight. Fill deserts with green plants.
All ground is holy now. Take off your shoes.
And dance!”


David Schelhaas taught high school and college English for 45 years and is now retired. He has published two books of poetry, The God of Material Things and Illuminated Manuscript, with Dordt Press.