Friday, April 18, 2014

Meditations in Fast Times: 39. I am torn open

Note to Readers: “Meditations in Fast Times” is a devotional writing experiment for the Season of Lent. Each day during the season, I am writing a poem as a meditation on, taking as my inspiration and intertextual basis, T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets”, as well as incorporating the daily office, current events, and other readings—some the same as those Eliot used while composing his seminal work and others. This is the penultimate poem of the cycle.


I am torn open,
The land is shaking;
mend me from my fears,
for all is quaking

I look around me,
among the rubble of the place,
this is a community, this is home;
the people here have risen together here,
not all of us brilliant, rich or even nice,
but determined here to be,
united in this time and this space,
unwilling to accept defeat, to roam
aimless, beaten, to descend wholly into vice;
disasters help us to see.

The land is torn open,
the whole world is shaking;
save us from our fears,
for all is quaking

I think of a King,
of three or more touched by Art,
plying their peculiar genius to some service,
uniting despite the challenges of time and division,
of places remembered, re-visioned, restored;
I hear a bell ring,
calling each of us to take some part,
in making or renewing bonds, soothing the nervous,
returning things to rights with care and precision,
finding and cherishing places we thought we’d explored.

We are all torn open,
all the buildings are shaking;
guide us from our fears,
while all is quaking

We bury the dead,
but we cannot stop while others lie dying,
we must keep calm and carry on the healing,
finding new protocols, building better systems,
because we cannot go back;
it has all been said,
if we say we have not heard it, we are lying,
the life in our care is not for wanton stealing,
yet despite our miserable failures, still glistens,
with vitality even we cannot crack.

Our gates are torn open,
but all has stopped shaking;
Let us dry our tears,
and serve our remaking.

© 2014 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen 

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