Poverty never ceases to surprise and disarm. What is truly alarming however is whenever I grow indifferent or worse, apathetic, to its crying dishonor. May I never be unaware or distant and always prepared to enter into the suffering of others. Lord, have mercy.
Don’t let me be found waiting when,
like water on a mirror, I slide
from corner to corner,
unwieldy and unpredictable,
the scab before the fall,
the tears before the pain,
the gain before the loss.
Running toward is always better than
running away when haggard eyes
silently proclaim my complicity in
the hollow halls of ownership.
I need to simmer long in cauldrons
of grieving for ones lost on the loom,
dismembered patterns refusing collision
into any kind of shape. Can you smell
the paint on my brush, richly bristled,
bent away from their needy canvas,
dry and parched, stretched too thin
to hold more than grey or black?
Colors here only reveal what stolen
chances never offered have done to ones
who just might wear them best.
Plumbing these altitudes, I grow weary
from my swan dives upward,
expelling all reason for some ritual,
denying them time for tome,
confusing their ache for my art.
Fixed, stuck am I on stolen intrusions
of short memory too bent to sort,
too cold to move, too sharp to soothe.
But forward brings me closer
than any other path, not placating,
or even prosaic but parallel with promises
unveiled only through the repetition
of laughter, laughter and
the solemn, sweet, irrepressible smiles
of the poor.
5 thoughts on “Driving school, autumn nights and thoughts on poverty”
Very strong images – the scab, the loom – vivid language and ideas. Very compelling piece, Rob.
Thanks, Melody. I really was at the Driving Academy with my younger son when I wrote this!
Inspiration in the least likely places! Mine came at Passport Canada office waiting in line. I HAVE to turn it into poetry somehow – a little 87 year-old lady wondering aloud whether she wanted a five or a ten year renewal. Priceless!! 🙂
Perfect! The extraordinary flowing from the ordinary. Hmm, sounds familiar somehow…
Methinks we’ve walked this trail before? 😉