Thursday, April 10, 2014

Meditations in Fast Times: 32. The middle

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.


The middle, I have found.

Here I am, in the middle way;
the twenty-five years of my exploring
not wasted, no, not at all, not ever,
not even when discoveries proved
to be dead ends;
for even dead ends show signs of life.

Here I am, in the middle way,
still l’entre deux guerres,
for that condition seems unchanged
—the barbarians, after all,
are a kind of solution
bullies fall back on
when they have no other reason
to incite, intrude or invade.

Here I am, in the middle way;
the tattered, folding maps
are giving up, their faded lines
were useful and lovingly explored;
such charts are no longer made:
people no longer travel but by turns and
the art of topography is all but forgotten.

Here I am, in the middle way;
from the beginning to each far place,
I met beauty, I met goodness and joy,
and when I returned, here I found the same,
although there was no sameness
to the varieties of expression
—every place has flavorful salt.

Here I am, in the middle way;
this unusual place, difficult to find
because it is overgrown and untended,
seems deserted and lonely,
though birds and other creatures
do make their homes here,
among the low hanging tree branches.

Here I am, in the middle way;
this is possibly the road least traveled,
by my reckoning, though many
say they know how to find it
—interest in being here has dwindled;
polarization seems preferable, somehow,
or at least more socially popular.

The middle, I have found,
and I shall not stop exploring
the intricacies of its beauty,
the subtleties of its forms,
the art by which it cultivates me
—In the scheme of things,
I arrive, in the middle, a beginner.

© 2014 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen