Thursday, November 17, 2016

POEM: "Bartimaeus"

Lord, he said, I cannot see.
Emboldened by my rage
And justified by my disappointment,
I cannot see, my nose, my hands, my heart.
I understand nuanced truths
Like systemic racism and economic dislocation,
But I cannot see, not your face, not my neighbor's.
The sun breaks over the green November hill,
And scans my face, buried in a sad pillow,
And I wake to another day.
But I cannot see.

I hear the mournful song of
So many in the street, my friends, my children--
A father who worries now, every evening,
That his son won't return from the fields.
A teenager who cries herself to sleep,
Because a bully ripped a scarf from her face.
A girl who's taunted and threatened
Because her two mothers drop her off at school. 
And their many songs fill me with sadness,
And then anger and bitterness.
I cannot see.
And my tears are like walls in my soul.

You who watch for mercy when the shadows
Turn hard and cold in the city's forgotten streets.
You who touch the untouched places
In our hearts, places even we dare not go.
You who love the wretched and seek out the lost,
Brother of the wounded, lover of all:
Lord, help me to see again!
Lay your mercy hand on the heavy lids of my eyes
And open my heart to the holy flame
Of wonder and delight, the one and only light
That shines in the souls of all and all and all.

Lord, help me see again!
The tender seeing of a chaplain at the bedside 
Of a young man dying and his lover grieving.
The brave seeing of an elder on fire with love,
Sitting or standing at Standing Rock.
The patient seeing of a lawyer
Who will not let the system bulldoze an immigrant's dream.

Lord, help me see again,
Not the 20-20 vision of a zealot,
Or the confident bluster of a convert,
But help me see with the eyes of grace
All that is beautiful and fragile and noble,
All that is possible and promised and redeemed.
Help me see again,
And take me with you, where you go. 

After Mark 10:46-52
17 November 2016 (DGJ)