There, but for the grace of God

In memory of my late grandmother, Nita Pearl
who loved poetry & the colour purple.

“There, but for the grace of God go I”, it once was said,
For another’s path of darkness
Could be mine or yours instead.
No soapbox to be stood on;
No high ground to be claimed;

I daren’t think too highly of myself
Lest I be shamed.

“There, but for the grace of God go I”, it once was thought,
For I know not of his story,
Or the battles he has fought.

Was birth or creed or race or greed
At fault most in her past?

Did she choose the leading role,
The script in which she’s cast?

“There, but for the grace of God go I”, we used to say;
My heart may not seem quite as black,
But it’s a least a shade of grey.

Perhaps his script was golden,
But he improvised for worse;

Does he deserve redemption,
Or forever to be cursed?

“There, but for the grace of God go I”, we rarely think;
“Perfect? No, but good at heart,”
We say without a blink.

Pride and greed and lust and rage
Ignored at least in part,

When visit unexpected,
Betray the blackness of our heart.

“There, but for the grace of God go I”, we’d think once more;
That before we speak our hearts are scanned
For blackness, to be sure.

For if we wish to throw a stone;
Point out another’s sin;

We might first see the roles reversed,
And find grace for love to win.

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