T. Garvice Murphree
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,
for by doing that some have entertained angels
without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2
Alone in awe I welcomed a stranger.
He came unannounced in
slanting rays of afternoon.
His knock upon my door was firm,
obviously expecting admission.
Expectancy was his, not mine.
However, a chosen host must tender hospitality.
One night? Many days and nights?
He did not say.
We are taught to be good
hosts for strangers because
angels are among them.
Alone, I let the stranger in,
so that I the chosen host would
not miss the angels.
Bio: T. Garvice Murphree, 85 years old, lives in Asheville, North Carolina. Eight years ago he received the diagnosis of Non-Hodgkins Mantel Cell Lymphoma, which is treatable but not curable. He says, “My angels arrived in the guise of my surgeon and cancer! Cancer and I have been inseparable companions on this continuing life journey. Furthermore, death and I have become compatible friends along the way.”
This poem was written two months after hearing the diagnosis. It is included in the book, Strangers and Angels, his volume of poetry in three sections: I. Nature Sings, II. Living with Illness, III. Between Book Ends.