it’s not what you think,
not what you expected,
as you trek beyond what you know;
it’s not a warm and fuzzy welcome,
not cries of delight at your arrival,
but woe and wrath and warning;
it’s the voice in the desert,
as the prophet had said – and yet,
his wildness, the camel clothes, the locusts?
it is the voice crying out, but the message
is harsh, turn back, change heart,
you are no more precious than that stone;
it’s a baptism, a renewal, it’s life,
this water immersion, this rising;
but the Spirit, but baptism with fire?
what will he require, this ‘one more
powerful than I’; to baptise by burning,
turning us into candles used up for the flame?