"The Tilted Sea"
A Poem for Maundy Thursday, and for Passover
Demoralized by nagging doubts
And the half-sincere efforts that brought us
To this table, to this room, to this night,
Somewhere in Jerusalem, city of peace.
Betrayed by the desires we once considered
Prayers for justice, for freedom, for holiness:
Now we break the stale bread of disappointment,
Sip slowly the bitter wine of resentment.
And you, you are not so surprised
By our confusion, so many timid eyes;
Still you are not persuaded that
Betrayal and disappointment are destiny, vocation.
So you take an old bowl, used by others
To wash weary faces, the muddy hands of children,
And you kneel beside us, as dogs beneath the table
Plead with you for a blessing or a minor morsel.
In your old bowl do you see the tilted Sea,
And the children of the Hebrews passing through?
In your old bowl do you see a wedding feast
And fine wine that sets sad feet in motion?
As you run your hand through this water,
Does the Breath of God stir across the face of deep?
As deep drips from your fingertips,
Does your mind drift to the Jordan and John and beginnings?
We put ourselves through the motions of this meal,
As if we've done it a thousand times, and will again a thousand more.
Our eyes scan other eyes, suspicious,
But unwilling to watch you, waiting, by the water.
Tonight in Jerusalem.
City of Peace.
And what is it would you have us do?