Saturday, December 21, 2013

A poem for the season of Hope

I wrote this poem during this advent season as we meditate on hope. Hope is often described as this fluffy, light thing; a cloud, a twinkle, a feather, a dream. And maybe the act of hoping is white and bright. But maybe not. Maybe it's dark and scary and risky. Maybe it's like running away from the slave master, maybe it's running toward freedom. I think about hope being the marrow in the bones of runaway slaves. During advent, we light the Hope candle and it shines, but it only shines in the dark.

The North Star

If Christ be not that northern star, 
our beacon not to follow
in vain we make this journey far
and shelter in trees hollowed;
plagued by termites' vicious want --
as we are poured out by the master,
demanding lifeblood for his gain,
demanding reverence for his name.
See these bodies, the shattered alabaster. 
If satan's not the fearsome captor
then why do our feet flee so?
His hounds, they've caught my scent
I feel the River Freedom's undertow;
the lapping warmth, this liquid Lent,
my spirit beat, my body spent.
I'll wait there, wade there, severed from my own.
My fugitive family caught, my son; a bloodhound's bone.
If Christ be not that distant star
that beckons, points and leads,
then he would be the hollowed hole that hides me in the trees.
And he would be that lapping wave that carries on this broken slave,
and he would be my lonely head and he would be my son, half dead.

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