Mark Chapter Four (from New Testament in Blank Verse by Day Williams)

MARK CHAPTER FOUR
Jesus began to teach beside the lake
Again. The crowd that circled round him was
So large that he got in a boat and sat

In it out on the lake, while all the people
Gathered along the shore. He taught them by
His parables, and in his teaching said:

“Listen! A farmer went to sow his seed.
As he was scattering the seed, some fell
Along the path, where birds came down and ate

It up. Some fell on rocky places, where
The ground was hard. It sprang up quickly, for
The soil was shallow, but it wilted soon

Beneath the sun, which scorched the plants
And made them wither, for they had no root.
Other seed fell among the thorns, which grew

And choked the plants, so that they bore no grain.
Still other seeds fell on good soil and yielded
Crops, multiplying thirty, sixty–even

A hundred times.” Then Jesus said, “He who
Has ears to hear should listen.” When he was
Alone, the Twelve and others with him asked

About the parables. He said to them,
“The secret of God‘s kingdom has been given
To you. But all is said in parables

To the outsiders so that, “`They may see
But not perceive; that they may hear but not
Understand; otherwise they might convert

And be forgiven!’” Jesus asked them, “Don’t
You understand this parable? Then how’ll
You understand the other parables

That I will tell? The farmer sows the word.
Some people‘s hearts are like the seed along
The pathway where the word is sown. Once they

Hear the word, Satan comes and steals it, so
That they forget it. Others, like seed sown
On rocky places, hear the word, receiving

It joyfully, but since they have no root,
They only last a short while. Afterward,
When trouble or a persecution comes

Due to the word, they quickly fall away.
Still others are like seed sown in the thorns:
They hear the word; but the cares of this life,

Riches’ deceitfulness, and the desires
For other things come in and choke the word,
And it becomes unfruitful. Others, like

Seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept
It, and produce a crop that’s thirty, sixty,
Even a hundred times more.” He asked, “Do

You bring a lamp inside a lamp to slip it under
A bowl or bed? No, don’t you place it on
Its stand? For there is nothing hidden which

Won’t be revealed, and nothing is concealed
Which will not come to light. If anyone
Has ears to hear, let him use them.” Take heed

To what you hear,” he said. “With the same measure
You use, it will be measured back to you−
And even more. Whoever has will be

Given more; and the one who does not have,
Even his nothing will be taken from
Him.” He continued, “This is what God‘s kingdom

Is like. A farmer scatters seed upon
The ground, then goes to bed at night, gets up
Each morning, while the seed sprouts and grows up,

Though he does not know how. All by itself
The soil produces grain−at first the stalk,
And then the head, then the full kernel in

The head; and as soon as the grain is ripe,
He puts the sickle to it instantly,
Because the harvest‘s come.” Again he said,

“To what shall we compare God‘s kingdom? Or
What parable shall we describe it with?
It’s like a mustard seed, the smallest seed

That you can plant in soil. Yet when it’s planted,
It grows, becoming greater than all herbs,
With such big branches that the birds can perch

Within its shade.” With many similar
Parables Jesus spoke the word to them,
As much as they could understand. He did

Not say a thing to them unless he used
A parable. But when he was alone
With his disciples, he explained it all.

That day when evening came, he said to his
Disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side.”
They sent the crowd home and took him along,

As he was, in the boat. Some other boats
Were with him too. Then came an angry squall
Of wind which drove the waves aboard the boat

So it was almost swamped; and He was in
The stern, asleep upon a pillow. His
Disciples woke him up and said to him,

“Teacher, don’t your care that we’re drowning?” He
Told his disciples, “Why are you so scared?
Do you still have no faith?” They were afraid

And questioned one another, “Who is this?
Even the wind and waves submit to him!”