“Tapestry” was inspired by the Hebrews 11 eulogy of history’s fallen heroes of the faith, who, during their lifetimes, never saw the fulfillment of their faith. This passage segues into Hebrews 12, in which those heroes have passed from the temporal into the eternal, and are referred to as “the great cloud of witnesses.”
Miltonian Sonnet: TAPESTRY
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off,
and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, . . . (Hebrews 11:13)
The pattern on the underside confused
By snarl and tangle, jumbled, twisting knot.
Its warp and woof constructed without thought
It seems: the flawless linen now infused
With spots of wreckage–perfect weave abused.
“A waste of thread,” I cry, upset, distraught,
And try to pluck the mess now sewn in taut,
Then see the Eye that watches me, amused–
Whose Hand now turns the underside to light.
Amazed, I view a matchless, perfect shawl,
Embroidered dosser, interlaced with shine
That stirs me as I contemplate the sight
Of faultless weft, undamaged after all.
Eternity alone discerns design.