I went looking for poetry this week.

This week,
as the world reels in shock and fear and sadness
once again.

To stop keeping up with the news
is not actually an option
if one is hoping to facilitate change,
but it sure is tempting.

We reel so often lately,
we practically never come to rest.
And lack of rest can cause panic
and a reduced ability to cope,
among other things.

But I took a moment this week
and went looking for poetry.

I started at the usual place,
but the muse in the corner
who loves to be given license to dance
and exult in words with me
just shook her head
and looked down.
So I continued the search on my own.

I walked to the hillside
to see if I could speak to a shepherd or maybe an angel,
but the sheep had been moved to better pasture
and the sky was blank and silent.

I journeyed to the city
to listen in on the young teaching the old,
but there were boards across the temple door,
slurred with graffiti.

I went to the house of prayer
to witness righteous anger and overturned tables,
but it was roped off and surrounded by police.
No one was allowed inside,
neither sinner nor saint.

I searched the ground
to see if I could follow God’s footsteps,
but they were obscured by the masses
frantically looking out for themselves and their own.

I looked for a piece of fish net
to take home as a souvenir,
but I couldn’t tell the difference
between broken net and broken rope.
Not wanting to honor the wrong thing,
I left them both alone.

There seemed nothing else to do but climb the hill,
so I did,
slowly,
my eyes on the rocky ground beneath my feet.
I didn’t want to.
I wanted to do anything else,
but this seemed to be my only option,
so I climbed.

At the top I came to a halt
next to a woman at the foot of a cross.
She patted the rock next to her and I sat down.

He is still dying? I asked.

Yes, she said.

I don’t know what to say, I faltered.

This is not a space for words, she said.
This is where we stop and cry. 

I don’t want to.
There is no hope here, I whispered.

You are right and you are wrong, she said.
You cannot see hope right now.
When you are traveling through the valley of the shadow of death,
all that can be seen is the dark.
This is not the end of the story.
But there is no moving on
without being here first.
Be here.
Stay in this moment.
I will stay with you. 

***
So I stayed,
and she stayed with me,
and enfolded in each other’s embrace,
we rocked and cried
and waited for the coming dawn

together.

 

Lindy Thompson

Lindy Thompson is a lyricist and writer who has collaborated with Mark Miller on many pieces for choral and congregational singing. She lives in Franklin, TN where she and her family are members of Christ UMC. She blogs at lindythompson.net

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