Tuesday, April 12, 2005


A poem I wrote a long time ago, about hearing and almost understanding...

A sudden wind blows, shattering
The morning stillness, scattering
The desiccated leaves that lie
Like gravemounds, neatly raked.

They hiss, insistent, clattering
Across the pavement, chattering
With whispered sibilances
In some long-forgotten tongue.

And I, straining to hear
Feel that I could almost catch a word or two

But then,

The wind shifts
The spell breaks
The leaves scurry away
With a dry and mirthless chuckle.

1 comment:

Johanna said...

I was going to comment on the issue of responsibility, & this poem illuminates the very thing that was at the heart of what I want to speak about. The two sentences that seemed to be the crux in getting that idea moving…

“What is our responsibility to people who, for whatever reason, don't ask for help. When is it time for us to take some initiative?”

It seems like two sides of the same coin to limit oneself to the following: that it is only necessary to help those who ask for help, & acceptable to not concern yourself with those who don't. In a certain sense, this could be seen to embody the principle of doing non-violence to the free choice of others…we do not impose our “help” on those who do not ask. This is fairly straightforward, because you only need to respond to the immediate concrete need right in front of you. I think this is only one level, though.

There is a third alternative, which relates to the “irregular verb” of inspiration. And that is…in spite of the “correctness” of the first view, there sometimes do arise situations in which those regular rules just do not apply, they don’t quite fit, & we find ourselves being moved by an inner impulse, which is “knowing” rather that “thinking or feeling” & often seems at great odds with what the rest of the world may deem to be the right reponse. It doesn’t make sense on a rational or even feeling level, but there is an inner sense of knowing about it that puts us beyond the pale to acknowledge that we’ve even heard it, much less been willing to act on it in the face of opposition.

We hear, & we almost understand, & if we can go a bit furthur & not be so concerned by other’s opinions of us, but be firmly rooted in & dedicated to being primarily concerned with what God thinks of us…..if we can get into that scarey territory of flat-out risk, offering ourselves up to that, then we DO understand.

Instead of wavering in that pale, dry-leaf echo of not trusting that subtle inspiration.