© 2019 Jeff Guess

viii. Signs and Wonders - Bricks

July 10, 2017


early 15c and from Old French briche probably from a Germanic source akin to Middle Dutch bricke ‘a tile,’ ’a broken piece’.


Brick Layer



as stars

sink back

into the soft grey mortar

of a watery dawn



as morning

might scratch

under the sharp trowel

of the wind



bearing a first brick

against the red dust

of dawn

the single-handed


click and scrape

out of his steaming thermos

and the coil of smoke

from his cigarette-

he builds towards the light.


Jeff Guess



            The Brick - A Parable


            A young student approached his guru one day and said: "Master, you have spoken so much about karma, but I do not yet understand it. How can I learn about karma?"

            The guru smiled and said to the youth: "Come with me." The two then proceeded to walk silently to the edge of the village where workers were busily engaged in making bricks for a house being built.

            The two stood and watched the activity of the brick makers for some time, and then the guru asked: "Now do you understand karma?"

            "No, Master," the lad replied.

            "I see," said the old man. He then leaned over and picked up a freshly made brick which he handed to the student. "Here. Carry this brick with you everywhere you go. Do not put it down under any circumstances. Do you understand that?"

            "Yes, Master."

            "Good," said the guru. "Come back to me in a year." With that the guru turned and walked away.

            A year later to the day the student returned, brick in hand, to his guru. The youth was barely able to contain his frustration and irritation.

            "Master, I have done exactly as you told me. I have carried this brick with me everywhere, and it has been nothing more than an aggravation and a nuisance and several other things I will not mention in your Holy Presence. And I have learned nothing at all about karma!"

            The guru looked sternly at the youth. "Did you at any time set the brick down?" he asked in a sharp voice.

            "No, Master. I carried it everywhere," came the reply.

            A twinkle came to the guru's eye as he asked: "Now do you understand karma?"


Reading: St. Matthew 21:42

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes’ NIV



The Wise Man Built His House


The wise man built his house upon the rock

The wise man built his house upon the rock

The wise man built his house upon the rock

And the rain came tumbling down


Oh, the rain came down

And the floods came up

The rain came down

And the floods came up

The rain came down

And the floods came up

And the wise man's house stood firm.


                                                Ann Omley, 1948


©Jeff Guess 2017


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