Thursday, April 9, 2015

Good Neighbors: 8. Eight Days, Nine Yards, at the Eleventh Hour

Standing before the empty tomb,
we see its emptiness and weep.

What happened here?
Who can say?

Loss and abandonment hang in the air.

A parent died;
a friend left;
a mentor migrated,
leaving no forwarding address;
the plane crashed,
and we cannot rest until we know why,
for how can there be closure
under the cloud of the unknown?

We all wait,
and what we await
is an eighth day,
when the emptiness can be lifted
—or filled—
by possibility,
so we can move on.

When will our eighth day come?

If we could move,
we might
attempt a full nine yards
to achieve ten,
or, who knows, even more.

The empty tomb
is meant to make us turn to one another,
for solace and for support,
to reconnect and renew.

On that day,
on the day when we break through
—the grief,
            the pain or paralysis—
when we find one another
and work together
—to be with and for one another—
                        only when,
at that eleventh hour of our collective soul
                        only then
            might we truly be known
            as Good Neighbors.

© 2015 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

This poem is the final prayer and postlude of a cycle based on the so-called Seven Penitential Psalms. The subtitle of the cycle is “Psalms from the Streets”.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Good Neighbors: 7. Sunday

Hear what I’m saying?
Don’t judge
what you don't understand!

How can you justify
pushing me away?

I’ve been objectified,
            I’ve been abused,
I’ve been both overwhelmed
            and ignored by those who should help.

I remember better times,
when I was able to work,
and could think deep thoughts.

Now, it is all I can do to stand up
            and reach out.
I’m living through a drought,
            and thirsting for true compassion.  Hear that?

Hear me,
Now, as I stand before you,
Don’t turn away,
as if I am invisible.

Let me feel love in the morning;
            if I am to believe in the system,
teach me how it works,
            so that I can freely be in it. 

Deliver me,
help deliver us all from failure and shame;
we’ll follow you to salvation,
if you’ll let us in.

Teach us to live anew,
            for you have found the key;
if you are truly good,
            lead the rest of us to that promised land.

© 2015 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

This poem is part of a cycle based on the so-called seven Penitential Psalms. The subtitle of the cycle is “Psalms from the Streets”. This entry is based on Psalm 143, and could be subtitled, “The Abused.”