Two Martyrs, One Son (1987: AGE 16)

Two Martyrs, One Son
January 23, 1987

The Cardinal
his voice echoed across the land
in the ears of seven million people.
They all turned to their neighbor
–Did you hear the Cardinal?
He sang yesterday. You know I heard
him sing: ‘I have a dream today!
Let freedom ring then we might sing
free at last, thank God almighty,
we are free at last!’
Then I heard him cry
‘Oh God, oh Lord.’–
Seven million people cried yesterday.

The Bluebird
his voice echoed across the land
in the ears of seven million people.
They all turned to their neighbor:
–Did you hear the Bluebird?
He sang yesterday. You know I heard
him sing: ‘I had a dream today.
Rise above the evil in your hearts!
We can soar with the glory of love,
if we let our soul power shine!’
And then I heard him say:
‘Oh God, oh Lord!’–
Seven million people cried yesterday.

The Dove
His voice resonates across all lands
in the hearts of seven billion people.
They all turn to their neighbor
–Listen to the Dove!
He sings! Hear His voice:
‘I have a dream for you, children-
love your neighbor as yourself,
love your enemy as you love your God
for we are one, united.’
With all our hearts, listen!–
‘Father into your hands… I am yours.’
Seven billion people hold hands today.

The last in a series of poems I wrote after watching the movie Gandhi, this one most clearly reflects how I connected the teachings of Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. My interest in nonviolent action was born in these poems as well as a life long conflict with the role of violence in human action. While my life has been given in service to my country, these voices of faith, hope, and love remain loud in my head. When I wrote this poem, I knew the voice inside me that I needed to hear; as I shared it with friends, I knew that voice had a place in the world.

See also, The Kingdom:
https://sailorpoet.com/2018/08/30/the-kingdom-1987-age-17/
Mahatma:
https://sailorpoet.com/2018/09/05/mahatma-1987-age-16/
and A Man:

Over the next few weeks I will be spending time with my 16-17 year old self from 1987. In no particular order, these poems will be presented in the final form I found them on computer discs discovered in an attic many years ago. This will culminate in the next entry of my Into My Own, My Story as a Writer series found here:

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/05/08/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-i-how-it-began/

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/06/14/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-ii-why-i-wrote-1986/

Whisper My Return (with Spoken Word)

Into my cathedral, no path to follow
Just my will. An alter of dirt and moss
Built by no human hand gives me pause.

I do not believe in God.

God, “I don’t believe in you.”

But when you whisper through leaves
Trees rustle back their peaceful thanks,
“How can your existence be denied?”

One thing that will endure, is beauty.
So while you and I may never break bread,
Interwoven inside each step taken on my path

A presence I can no longer deny.

God, I believe, now, believe in me.

Yesterday, I walked up a stream into a womb
It’s walls covered in soft beds of moss
The trees, eternal, whisper my return.

A Man (1987: Age 16)

January 24, 1987

You are a man
You claim no more
The praise, the crowd
Make no larger a man
I wish to be
In the hearts of a nation
In the hearts of a race
In the hearts of a faith
You are a savior
A man could be no more

You have one heart
You share it with all
All for love, no more-
Is there any more?
I wish to be
Will you help me?
I am a boy
That is all
I may ever be.

Another in a series of poems I wrote after watching the movie Gandhi, this on reflects how I was beginning to draw connections between the teachings of Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. My interest in nonviolent action was born in these poems as well as a life long conflict of the role of violence in human action. While my life has been given in service to my country, these voices of faith, hope, and love remain loud in my head.

See also, The Kingdom:
https://sailorpoet.com/2018/08/30/the-kingdom-1987-age-17/
and, Mahatma:
https://sailorpoet.com/2018/09/05/mahatma-1987-age-16/

Over the next few weeks I will be spending time with my 16-17 year old self from 1987. In no particular order, these poems will be presented in the final form I found them on computer discs discovered in an attic many years ago. This will culminate in the next entry of my Into My Own, My Story as a Writer series found here:

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/05/08/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-i-how-it-began/

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/06/14/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-ii-why-i-wrote-1986/

On Seeing the Sunrise, 7/20/18

I do not know God like you do
Or you
Or you
Or, even, you.

As a youth, I thought I’d meet Him
In Church
Speak to Him through Prayer.
We’d all chant together.

This morning, when I finally woke
Something entered me
Not a Man, or a Woman, but Being.
It knit a whole.

I quietly sat and listened
To the words of poets: Rumi, Kinnell, Lawrence
Blake, Kabir and Thoreau
Until their words invited me outside.

Under foot, the sand cooled by the night
Awaited my imprint,
And the sky, wow! the Sky!
Spoke through remnants of storms.

An orange glow pressed through a veil
Spreading its light across the horizon
The edges of clouds painted purple
And the silence of a new day filled me.

Perhaps, like Kabir, who knew nothing shut iron gates
That new love couldn’t open and wake
The beautiful woman asleep beyond the clouds.
“Fantastic!” He says, “Don’t let a chance like this go by!”

So across lines in sand set by human machines
I leapt to stand awake and in awe
At some divine being now inside me
Ready to swim in the bay, as full as the sea.

With thanks to poetry found in The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart, edited by Robert Bly, James Hillman, and Michael Meade. Harper Perennial, New York, 1992.

Begins Its Beat

So the chorus sings together, I hear them:
This is me, this is me, and this is me, no apologies.
And all of a sudden my chest opens up
To the flood it had held back like risk.

These words, too simple to be accepted
Now break down all of the barriers built
And all of a sudden my chest opens up
My heart brave, begins to more than throb.

It glows and drowns the darkness
This is me, this is me and I deserve your love.
And all of a sudden my chest opens up
My heart absorbs the flood and begins its beat.

My Voice:

The past month, I have been healing with my children and some amazing friends. I thank a one very good friend in particular for introducing me to The Greatest Showman one evening that provided a needed rudder shift. This week’s song of the week, the majestic and entrancing anthem, This Is Me, inspires and tonight I felt something change for good inside me. I am not sure this poem puts a finger on it, perhaps it does, perhaps it doesn’t, but something new now begins its beat.

The Song:

The Lyrics:

This Is Me
Keala Settle, The Greatest Showman Ensemble
Songwriters: Justin Paul / Benj Pasek

I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are

But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh

Another round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away ’cause today, I won’t let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades and
Reaching for the sun (we are warriors)
Yeah, that’s what we’ve become (yeah, that’s what we’ve become)

I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh
This is me

and I know that I deserve your love
(Oh-oh-oh-oh) ’cause there’s nothing I’m not worthy of
(Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh)
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
This is brave, this is proof
This is who I’m meant to be, this is me

Look out ’cause here I come (look out ’cause here I come)
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum (marching on, marching, marching on)
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I’m gonna send a flood
Gonna drown them out
Oh
This is me

This Is Me lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

This Cup

I offer this cup to you
refill it with the blood
of imagination and immortality
offered like a gift from the gods.

I let it slip from my fingers
into the desert of adulthood.

She offers this cup to me
filled with blood shed
to resurrect the gift of love
piercing the limits of imagination.

In her hands it throbs
with a longing for childhood.

We offer this cup
a dry vessel filled with blood
to rediscover life in red
more vivid than imagined.

In our arms lips shiver
and restores our innocence.

We fill this cup
with truths lost in the desert,
the blood of mortal life
and love immortal.

Your gentle hand
fills my cup.

Image: Breakfast Still Life with Chalice by Willem Claesz Heda 1634

May 29, 2018: Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge

Come to the Go Dog Go Cafe this week and share your thoughts on “The color of her blood was the least of my worries…”

Thanks Devereaux!

My Contribution:

The color of her blood was the least of my worries,
The color our blood made, a delta of throbbing flow
Two rivers carving up the earth relentless in pursuit
Of an ocean in need of salt. The rush of this pair
This need, worried me. Why can the single stream
Not carve land with adequate expression of faith?
When he drifted up to view the landscape written
In his tumble down to the sea, he saw half letters
Made complete in the delta of their blood a quill
That wrote new tales of life in fallow fields.

Go Dog Go Café

Writing Prompt TuesdayChristine is known for her writing prompt challenges on her blog Brave and Reckless.  She is now hosting a Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge at the Go Dog Go Cafe.  The prompts are designed to be quick challenges that can be written in 10 to 15 minutes,  inspire you creatively, are fun, and get everyone interacting.  Please post your response to the prompt in the comments below and show your fellow posters some love and support.  All members of the Go Dog Go community, including Baristas, are welcome to participate.  Feel free to share this post on your own blogs and/or Facebook.

Christine is always looking for cool, quick writing prompts.  If you have a great idea for a future Tuesday prompt challenge, send it to her at christine.e.ray@gmail.com

Today’s prompt is a flash fiction that starts with: “The color of her blood was the least of my worries…” 

You can leave your responses…

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So Close to Losing You

Today, thought I just about made it
When the sand felt so soft under foot.
Surf as gentle as she has ever been
Kind, she tasted my toes, an offering.
The Bay as still as she has ever been
Called my heart ready, an offering.

So I swam, free style, each stroke
Reaching as far as it could, elbows high,
Until there was nothing left to reach for.
Stories tell of the peace felt the moment
Water rushes inside remaining voids
Releasing oxygen others need more.

Today, just about made it across the bay
When the bottom, littered with rocks
Called me its offering, gentle and kind.
So I swam until there was nothing left
Water rushed in like a baby yet born,
I closed my eyes, close enough to losing.

“Son,
Are you awake?
I’m right here.
Hey,
Are you awake?
I’ll watch you.

Today, swim with me,
Son, so close…
Your
Eyes:
I am not losing you
Not today.“

My voice:

This week’s song of the week finishes The National back-catalog with a response to the stunning melancholy of “About Today” formally released on the EP Cherry Tree, made more powerful in its live version on the Virginia EP. A conventional reading of the lyrics tell of a man next to his wife realizing he is losing her. An unconventional reading of the lyrics is more self-reflective, a man looking at himself so close to losing everything. Today, the 25th of May, both readings speak to me. My response, however, ends with the hopeful, yet pained voice of a Father, perhaps The Father, who watches over his Son, not yet ready to lose him. This cathartic poem has been brewing for some time, now, and at last finds its voice.

The Song:

Original version, a powerful part of the film The Warrior:

This live version, however, rips my heart out every time:

The Lyrics:

About Today
Songwriters: Aaron Dessner / Matthew Berninger

Today
You were far away
And I
Didn’t ask you why
What could I say
I was far away
You just walked away
And I just watched you
What could I say

How close am I
To losing you

Tonight
You just close your eyes
And I just watch you
Slip away

How close am I
To losing you

Hey, are you awake
Yeah I’m right here
Well can I ask you
About today

How close am I
To losing you

How close am I
To losing

About Today lyrics © BMG Rights Management US, LLC

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