Tag Archives: Grief

Lost Dreams

Child by fabii from http://www.deviantart.com/art/child-61251692

Sometimes I imagine you running through some unending shopping mall

Realizing that somewhere along the trip you lost hold of me in the crowd

Perhaps you stopped to gaze at some curiosity in a shop window for a moment

And I was gone, moved on by the crush of the crowd’s unending, unfeeling flow

Tears streaming down your cheeks for the companion no longer there

As both our futures were severed by forces beyond our control

 

Like a parent who came to a new country seeking hope for their family

Only to find that family ripped asunder at the border, children caged

Fighting bureaucrats and their cold, unfeeling mountains of paperwork

Fanning the embers of hope for some eventual reunification

Only to find out that you are gone, given to a new family to foster

Just a dream who has hopefully found a new father to be cherished by

 

Some part of me won’t accept that dreams die when reality shatters them

When life moves on, when circumstances change, when new dreams are born

Something makes me hope that they find a new heart that beats with theirs

Someone who cherishes them the way that I did as they grew and changed

That they have a future beyond the fracture, and that they find joy and love

That you may be the dream that another person raises up for the world to see

The Air is Heavy

 

The air is heavy as it fills my lungs with its leaden weight
For in this springtime of the year in addition to the pollen,
The heavy perfume of the earth reawakening from its slumber
The emergence of wildflowers and bees and leave on the trees
Comes the weight of our fears over the death of the world we know
While the rest of creation emerges from its wintry hibernation
We confine ourselves to our modern caves repaying sabbaths missed
While the bird songs fill the morning light, we sing a dirge
Like children caught between dance and death we are unsatisfied
And we grieve the world transformed in ways we didn’t forsee

The air is heavy as the alveoli slowly force it back into the sky above
Breathing out the pain and the sadness, the life and the death
As each lobe automatically works to push the moist carbon dioxide
Through the bronchi and trachea to be expelled out of the mouth
Carrying on its respiration a heavy prayer for some lighter air
When we gathered in great numbers to sing and dance and jump
Sitting at the banquet table eating rich food and drinking well aged wine
Eating the marrow of life and drinking the wine strained clear
Never thinking that death could swallow this up so quickly
And the shroud would lie over so many people from so many nations

The air that bears the unweighable virus can seem so heavy
As we try to launch our saline filled cries up into the heavens
Waiting behind the high fortifications of our walls for the day
When we can open the gates in joyous celebration and lightness
For the air is no longer heavy and we can breathe freely again
For the shroud has been removed and death is swallowed up
And prayers are finally answered as tears are wiped away
The city’s life which has been placed in a coma awakens
As our lungs fill with the warm but lighter air of summer

Bleeding Words

Captain Jay Ruffins, 17th Century Quills from Rufus King Manor museum in Jamaica, Queens shared under Creative Commons 4.0 Share Alike

Forgive the words that bleed out from this pen
For the ink that forms them is a torturous mixture
Of a wounded heart’s flow mixed with the saline
Of the river of tears which flow to the sea of grief
And the trembling hands which wield the implement
Shake as they attempt to record the wounds of the world
And like so much spilled blood it rushes like streams
To poison the wells of joy that once nourished

Perhaps like the prophets’ words later generations may see
That these harsh words were the fertilizer for some new growth
Where those who mourn may be comforted as the tears dry
And the poet’s heart is lovingly knit back together by time
Then perhaps the words will be the creative words of spring
But now those words are an unknown language strange to the ear
Words whose syllables have no meaning to the grieving soul
Who must drink of the putrid waters of their own well

For everything there is a time, a time to bleed and a time to heal
And I must speak the words of that bubble up from the well of the soul
Where the light of life seems a tremulous flame in the squall
Where the cold of winter penetrates into the marrow of the bones
And where the slow tick of the clock marks the passage of pain
While I wait for the pen to slowly run out of this tortured ink
For the rivers to dry up as the sun reemerges from its dormancy
Longing for the language whose sounds my tongue cannot form
Joyously drinking from the sweet waters of newly dug wells

The Lament of the Forgotten Son

Margaret Adams Parker, Reconciliation: Sculpture of the Parable of the Prodigal Son for Duke Divinity School (2005) View 1

Margaret Adams Parker, Reconciliation: Sculpture of the Parable of the Prodigal Son for Duke Divinity School (2005) View 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You stand out on the crossroads looking for the prodigal
Waiting for the return of the one who cashed in his heritage
Who took what we worked so long to build and walked away
He wished for your death and plundered your house
And yet day after day you wait for his return, this lost son
Like some wandering sheep you set out in search of him
Like some lost coin you search every corner to find again
And so, you stand out at the crossroads today and every day
While I rise up in your stead, tending the flock, sowing the seed
Working to ensure that for all of us there will be a harvest
You pine for your lost son, I grieve for my lost father

This son of yours, this spoiled younger brother of mine
Unwilling to dirty his hands among the fields or to care for the home
Who shirked the yoke that I bore for you countless seasons
There were always excuses that were made on his behalf
I thought that his last request might finally cross a line
That this final insult, this slap in the face might raise your ire
Is there nothing he could do, no request he might make
That might cause you to put your foot down and say, ‘no more’
How could you let him take away the work of our hands
Going off to a distant land with the wealth of generations
This son of yours, this spoiled younger brother of mine

The days you spent on the crossroads looking for the prodigal
Are the days you never once looked at me managing the house
Sweating with the servants in the field to sow and reap a harvest for you
Holding everything together while you stayed lost in your grief
Did your eyes never fall upon me as I shepherded your flock?
Was a word of praise ever uttered from your lips for my longstanding obedience?
Did your desire to see what was lost blind you to what remains?
The absent son who erased the son with calloused hands and burnt skin
Who stayed and never strayed from the homestead
And who is still waiting here for you to join him as he works in the vineyard

Then, one day, as I exit the fields at the end of a weary day
I hear merriment as the town eats our food and drinks our wine
The fatted calf has been slaughtered for the prodigals return
And while the entire town was invited to the celebration
You never considered coming to the fields to retrieve me?
It is only from a slave that I learn that my brother has returned
And my father as well, back from the crossroads and the ends of the earth
You rejoice with the town while my soul bleeds outside the home I sustained
What must I do to be seen, heard, loved and welcomed?
Must I also become the prodigal for you to celebrate me?
Must I deny you so that you might accept me?

How long before you realize that there is a son missing from your feast?
Before you make the journey into the fields you abandoned for the crossroads?
Until you see the son who didn’t squander your wealth with prostitutes
He feasted away your fortune and you throw him a feast of rich foods
I worked your fields, maintained your table, fed your flocks
Yet, not even a goat was to be spared for me and my friends
Welcome home father, I hope you appreciate the pantry I stocked
Welcome home brother, I hope you enjoyed the calf I raised
Hear this lament of the forgotten son who awaited your return
To the family you both turned your backs upon

The Story Collector

I listen on the cell phone as the coverage cuts in and out
Straining to hear every word, listen to the emotion there
As across the connection comes the other’s fear and doubt
But in the tear drenched words there is a gift beyond compare
They have trusted me with their story, I’ll hold it close to me
For that is what story collectors do for the world that they see
 
A family comes from across the country to gather together
To remember a man who made an impact on their life
And I sit and listen, collecting as their memories untether
As tears and laughter mix with joy and love, pain and strife
They have trusted me with their story, I’ll hold it close to me
For that is what story collectors do for the world that they see
 
So often, they wonder, those whose stories I’ve heard
How I can enter these times of hurt, loss and despair
It’s not always easy to enter the pain, to carry each word
But the gift that they’ve given is beyond all compare
They have trusted me with their story, I’ll hold it close to me
For that is what story collectors do for the world that they see
 
The stories I gather will never be committed to paper and ink
For they are shelved in my mind, locked in my memory’s circulation
But in my mental library holds them so that when I think
I can learn from all of their lives, struggles and perspiration
They have trusted me with their story, I’ll hold it close to me
For that is what story collectors do for the world that they see