Through shifting winds and raging storms
Each year, the birds catch the invisible thread of their path
And migrate into a new season;
Through wavering limits of salinity and temperature
All the fish in the sea find the hidden, powerful currents
And wash away in them;
In the night under the dusky canopies of forests around the world,
Each tiny creeping thing knows the exact pitch and time signature of its song,
And follows the movements of a maestro only they know;
And I, blown about by tempests and adrift in merciless seas and lost in the pathless shadows under trees,
I cling to You.
Like a castaway clinging to chains of a ship, like a gull caught up in the hurricane wind, like a child hiding in the warm smell of her father’s lapels, I cling to You, I cling to You, I cling to You.
Every lovely and terrible and heartclenching thing on this Earth will pass away, and still,
I cling to You, I cling to You, I cling to You.
When I rise at 2am
To hold you, squalling
Red-faced and indignant
And soothe you back to rest
Against the cradle
Of my ribs
I gaze with wonder
At the twin lights
Of consciousness and feeling
Behind your eyes
And I feel the weight
Of your protection
Press against my weak
And narrow shoulders
And think, my God
How am I shepherd you
Through all of this?
You will have your own
Thoughts and joys
And secret yearnings
But for now
You ask only for a full belly
And a warm embrace.
I comfort myself
That these things are enough
To sustain you,
And try to brush away the fears
That seek to crowd out
With their demands.
I know that I am not enough.
And yet I fear the day
You learn the same of me.
an uninvited guest
in my house
what it calls itself
i do not know
but i call it
it has stolen
all the words
from the books
and painted gray
on my walls
it sets hornets loose
inside my thoughts
and pinches hard
all this it does
“I’m not here,
I’m not here”
in the hungry place
a noise reverberates
between the walls
a voice cries out
then hushes itself
no other voice trembles
and imagines the echoes
are a friend
there is a friend
that sticks closer than a brother
and sometimes I think
that friend is just the echo
of my sing-song voice
in the hungry place
This is the day, which down the void abysm
At the Earth-born’s spell yawns for Heaven’s despotism,
And Conquest is dragged captive through the deep:
Love, from its awful throne of patient power
In the wise heart, from the last giddy hour
Of dread endurance, from the slippery, steep,
And narrow verge of crag-like agony, springs
And folds over the world its healing wings.
Gentleness, Virtue, Wisdom, and Endurance,
These are the seals of that most firm assurance
Which bars the pit over Destruction’s strength;
And if, with infirm hand, Eternity,
Mother of many acts and hours, should free
The serpent that would clasp her with his length;
These are the spells by which to reassume
An empire o’er the disentangled doom.
To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
To defy Power, which seems omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;
Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent;
This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be
Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound, Act IV
You have pressed my brokenness between Your palms
and made of me a new kind of ordnance,
dense, weighty, deceptively simple and small.
You heft me from hand to hand
with fierce joy,
enjoying Your work,
savoring Your plan.
I am the stone in the slingshot,
the sickle in the field.
I am a bullet in the chamber
waiting for a spark,
I am the arrow held between Your fingers,
eager for flight.
slow-building, mundane pressures
push me into a mold I don’t like.
voices, high and low,
talk me into a corner I didn’t choose.
God’s tireless chisel
crumbles me into a shape I don’t understand.
my desires fracture
and fly out from me in all directions.
the path winds, and wanders,
and fades into the blank horizon.
my strength continues to burn.
it burns right through me–
and leaves a charred, crackling hole.
my feet continue on, purposeless,
with a blind, stubborn perseverance.
yet I move along,
tired eyes on top of clumsy feet.
I’ll get where I’m going.
I’ll get somewhere, anyway.