sing your praises to the one
who stands by the orphan and the widow,
who champions the cause of
the imprisoned and the refugee
and demands that we do the same.
sing out wherever the powerful plot
their conquest, let your notes soar,
like doves impossibly sheathed in
silver and gold, sparks setting darkness
ablaze, clouds writhing in
above jagged mountain peaks.
blessed are the ones
who sing this song unafraid, this
glorious hymn roaring from
the hearts and guts of those who
recognize oppression when they see it
and are prepared to call it by its name.
and blessed are the ones
who step forward undaunted,
to smash the idols of fear and
misgiving so that the true source
of our power might somehow
burst free at last.
will you show us the way to
true liberation? dare we imagine
that it might be made available
to all peoples, no exceptions?
can you keep us all -
powerful or powerless alike -
from complacent assumptions, from
concluding repeatedly and all to easily
that security will only be achieved
can you show us how to overcome this
crippling, toxic fear, how to loosen our
grip, that we might find true strength
through the power and promise
of hands outstretched?
shout aloud for the one that is mightier
than any human power, soaring farther
than any eye can see, than any mind
can possibly fathom.
close your eyes just for a moment and see
if you are able this plenitude that
never ceases, this grace-filled universe
that gives and gives again but
is never depleted.
give glory to the one that cannot be contained
by any ideology, dogma or creed, greater than
religion, greater than god, do you think
you possibly can?
now empty your mind of judgment and
send up praises for this pain,
for this soul that can trampled but
never broken, this spirit that endures
through white-hot fire and raging torrents
only to be reborn anew.
when i’m overwhelmed with discord,
with the unease that drives through me
with terrifying regularity,
you bring me home, the place
where the blessings flow
with random beauty,
the kind of harmony that knows
no rhyme or reason.
this is the place my depleted soul has
been seeking, this strange land where your
bounty is offered up without judgement
or expectation, offered up, in fact,
at the moments when i least expect it.
i’ll find my way here on my own one day
when i stop waiting for the sun to
rise in the morning and begin to burn yet
one more day’s course across the sky
along all too well-traveled tracks.
yes, i do believe that’s the day i’ll finally
come home: i’ll sow my seeds and go back inside
not bothering to worry when or if the rains
will come again this season, no need to wait
by the window wondering when i’ll start
to hear that familiar drop, drop,
drop on the sill.
hear my voice when i plead;
when i ask you to keep me
from all harm, please listen
very carefully to me
and you will come to understand
that i’m really not that interested
in your protection, nor am i asking you
to strike down my adversaries,
either real or imagined.
if you truly want to hearken to my pleas,
know that i’m really only asking you to keep
me from the disquiet that tells me over and over
again that i must dread what i do not know, that
i must live in fear if i am to live in this world.
so when i ask to be sheltered tightly beneath
the protection of your wings, please understand i’m
not asking you to hide me away, i’m asking you
to hold me tight, to hold me back, to
keep me from shooting my arrows so quickly
and so easily into your darkness.
like a wanderer lost
in the wilderness, my soul
thirsts for you.
as i journey on i sense
your presence, glimpses of
projected images that almost resemble
wild springs in the heart
of this arid desert.
i drink in the illusion
and i’m sated, it fills me up,
nourishing me more than
this is how i will make my way:
driven by my thirst toward a fertile
land i know is waiting for me beyond
the next horizon, but until i reach
that place, my illusions
will have to do.
it’s not the passive, quietist waiting
of victim nor the entitled,
expectant waiting of the privileged,
but rather the steadfast waiting of
those who know that even the
highest walls eventually totter on
their own foundations.
it’s the waiting of the one who
knows the storm is coming yet trusts
in the soft breath that breezes in
and out of the newborn, who
keeps faith in the gentle rhythms
that outlast the mightiest winds,
that whisper in our ears long
after the hurricane passes.
so when they tell you that force
bears fruit, just pay it no mind.
i might seem restless and
maybe i am, but i do know that
while mortal might lasts but for
a moment, the future belongs to those
who know how to ride out the whirlwind.
i’m calling out to you but i’m
fairly sure you can’t hear my cries,
not as long as i’m dwelling on the
far edges of the earth.
that’s how it is out here:
your prayers bleed out endlessly like
a wound never staunched and never healed,
an ever-rising sun that spreads fire
across the horizon but never
turns night into day.
so until my prayers reach their
destination you can find me here:
tending to my wounds, wrapping and
unwrapping the bandages, watching
the words fly free into the
eternal night sky.
after the dust cleared we carved
up the land and settled into our
strongholds, retreating behind borders,
actually more like fissures that
spread inexorably down into the
ground until the terrible day
the earth finally heaved
and split wide open.
as we tumbled into the abyss
we came to realize your promise was
not a promise at all but rather a
prediction of a fate set in motion
the moment we triumphantly set
up stakes and tore those bloody
gashes deep into your land.
it’s happening again, night is falling
the shadows are returning and
that ravenous stray dog has come
to howl at my door once more.
sometimes i think if i refused
to feed him just this one time,
he’d finally leave for good,
but if i encourage him
there’s always the chance
this unrelenting hunger
will never end.
this time i think i’ll simply
open wide to his song,
maybe i’ll discover it’s not
a wail endlessly devouring, but
rather an exquisite hymn of welcome to
the twilight softly spreading.