Friday, July 27, 2012

For Syria

Common Ground

The weapons of warfare are suicidal.
Bent toward destruction
of other
they cripple self,
maiming soul and spirit
until we are left
bereft of humanity.
We are at war with God,
striking at his image in our neighbor,
in ourselves.

What is the knowledge
of good and evil
but awareness
of unsightly otherness?
To be naked and ashamed
is nothing less
than forgetting the way
we laid side by side
in unformed clay,

Speak to us friends.
Remind us with bleeding voices--
there are no borders
beyond the curtain,
where enemy and ally
rest in the common ground
that eluded them
in the broken brotherhood
of flesh.

-- E. Ramón Chaparro, 2008

Monday, July 23, 2012

The most serious thing you ever felt

Snow Geese

Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last!
What a task
to ask
of anything, or anyone,
yet it is ours,
and not by the century or the year, but by the hours.
One fall day I heard
above me, and above the sting of the wind, a sound
I did not know, and my look shot upward; it was
a flock of snow geese, winging it
faster than the ones we usually see,
and, being the color of snow, catching the sun
so they were, in part at least, golden. I
held my breath
as we do
to stop time
when something wonderful
has touched us
as with a match,
which is lit, and bright,
but does not hurt
in the common way,
but delightfully,
as if delight
were the most serious thing
you ever felt.
The geese
flew on,
I have never seen them again.
Maybe I will, someday, somewhere.
Maybe I won't.
It doesn't matter.
What matters
is that, when I saw them,
I saw them
as through the veil, secretly, joyfully, clearly.

-- Mary Oliver

(Thank you to Kenneth Pruitt for sharing a blog post on the contemplative stance that contained this poem).