Home  »  The Poets’ Bible  »  “Ephphatha”

W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.


Edward Hayes Plumptre (1821–1891)

“WHY take him from the crowd?

Why all this long delay?

Surely, we thought, he now will speak aloud,

And Christ’s great word obey.”

Not so, apart from men,

Gazing and thronging round,

He takes him by himself, and not till then

Opens his ear to sound.

Not by mere spell of power,

Or word of boundless might,

Would He, the Son of Man, bestow His dower,

Of hearing or of sight.

First he must draw the soul

In full trust to His own;

Then, and then only, make the sick man whole,

And the strong foe dethrone.

Kind look, and loving word,

These quickened faith’s young life;

The smile they saw, the gentle voice they heard

With mystic power were rife.

But how shall they believe,

Whose sense is wholly closed?

How the new impulse in their souls receive,

To instincts old opposed?

What power shall set them free

From doubt, alarm, mistrust?

What voice shall bid the fears and fancies flee,

Like clouds of April dust?

That want the Healer meets;

He takes the man apart,

Far from the bustling throng of city streets

The wranglings of the mart.

With touch that thrills the sense,

With look that speaks of love,

He, with that spell of sympathy intense,

All barriers can remove.

The finger softly laid

On the deaf ear, dumb lips,

With wondrous working open entrance made,

Through which the new sense slips.

First sound that glads the heart,

That “Ephphatha” is heard,

And opened lips accept their new-found part,

And speak the living word.

Tones first in whispers low,

Then bursting into joy,

The shout of one who must his gladness show

Blithe as free-hearted boy.

We, Lord, are deaf and blind,

Give light that we may see;

Open our ears that we Thy whisper kind

May hear and turn to Thee.

Lead Thou our souls apart,

Touch Thou our tongue and ear,

That we may commune with Thee in our heart,

And Thy high wisdom hear.