Saturday, September 20, 2014

Darkness and Light

Darkness and Light
“Forgive them,” said Jesus, “for they know not what they do.”
Or so the gospel says he said, two thousand years ago,
Across the seas, where Asia met with Africa and Greece.
And further back and further east, the sutras say Gotama,
Meditating, woke to truth and called us to awaken,
Who walk through life as if we dream, as captives to illusion.
The misery that we create, the madness we engender –
This lives, although we pass away, to plague the generations.
So vision stays beclouded and the nightmare still goes on.
But also, when we find our peace and turn towards the truth,
Our acts of kindness leave behind a little patch of calm.
And so there’s still the hope we’ll see and know what we have done.
Within the tempest, as it blows, in peacetime and in war,
Within our hearts, amidst the greed, the anger, fear and hatred,
There still remains the sanity – and memory of love.
“Forgive them,” Jesus said, “for they know not what they do.”
In hubris, men behave like gods.  Like Icarus, they fall.
And misery breeds misery, as wretches move in thrall.

And heeding Jesus, we forgive and let the burden go.
We pray that madness dissipates, that we regain our sight,
And that the darkness of the world gives way, at last, to light.

But prayer will not right a wrong or bring the dead to life.
It cannot heal a mortal wound or turn the night to day.
And so we pause and ask ourselves the reason why we pray.
Is there a need for suffering?  Is there a place for sorrow?
Perhaps it gives us more of depth, and humbles those of pride.
For who has not known sorrow may not truly know compassion.
We need the sunshine of the day, we need the dark of night.
And so perhaps the dark within is needed, so we see
And value more the sanity – and cherish more the love.
And there are shades of darkness too – there's sorrow and there's grief.
And both of these may cleanse the soul – but there is madness wild
And all the smaller devilries that cloud our hearts and minds.
And these are what obstruct our sight and so pollute our souls.
And what can clear away these things, I truly do not know.
But those of wisdom say to breathe and turn towards the light.

And so we only pray for peace, the peace within ourselves –
For courage when the fear is great, for calm when all is roiled,
So humbly we may lead our lives – and smiling, turn to die.
2014 September 20th Sat, 3:24 am
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

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