Saturday, January 08, 2005

POEM: Faith in the Jaws of the Lions

“We must learn to love each other or die” - W.H. Auden

Each time you build it,
I will tear it away;
I will snatch whatever you have accomplished
Without feeling,
And with the fierceness of torrential water
That destroys the cocoon of all that you love.

Buildings or lives – it makes no difference:
To you these things hold everything,
But to me, they hold only sorrow in escrow –
The way a large rock
Pushed to the top of a hill
Holds potential energy.

And like air that bubbles up from mud
When I wipe you smooth,
Questions bubble up,
But I wipe you smooth anyway.

You seek God in these questions,
But He just stares back
In the unblinking devastation,
Divining faithlessness to come forth
Like calling Lazarus forth
From the tomb.

But God is in the rebuilding
And the bottomless grief;
He is in the courage of the most ordinary,
Where it gathers at the bottom
Of souls, unseen in most cases,
Like tea leaves at the bottom of a cup.

It is a most uncompromising sort of faith:
One where there are no promises
To be found but in each other,
And fresh beginnings
for us all.


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