The lines from Tom Atkins Quarry House website from the Poem Making Rope stopped my heart the moment I read the lines . . . . . history . . . .
that does not die because a few care enough to remember
and live the old ways, sure as faith, and twice as strong
as a soul that has done the work, day after slow day,
of restoration, a painful maintenance to save
what matters more than perfection.
At what point is it that one breaks with what goes for the norm where we are and with no conscious thought begins anew? It seems subliminal but what it is animating who we are says the profound, enough already!
And we then are of One Mind and begin. We don’t know for what, but begin we do.
And history does not die and we begin to learn and remember. We choose what is real and works and the value system attached has significance.
It is not easy ever and for some it is gut wrenching. The painful work of disentangling the memories attached to those we wish to cherish, takes an enormous amount of courage. It has stopped many an able bodied man.
Is it worth the struggle? All the time? When I see adult bodies running rough shod over children’s hearts, I remember my Mentor’s words. . (you) Suffer the children to come unto me, for such is the kingdom. . . and I want to shout at the big bodies in didies, Grow up! Already is past the time for long pants. Already, I see the children showing more maturity than the ones who borned them.
And heaven can only send out what comes in. No better. So when I wrote pour me a cup of solace. . . I was ready to throw in the towel. It was time to pull in the sidewalk and close the shutters. There were no woods to shelter me this time. But with a new morning sun on time, we begin again. And again. Hope springs eternal and life prevails.
If not, who would teach the children?
Pour for me a cup of solace
and serve a generous slice of mercy
and perhaps, just perhaps. . .
I will choose to live again.
A meagre portion
of passion dissolved in multitude
can no longer satiate
an appetite grown ravenous.
I learn. I know.
But when the menu is designed
with child in mind, I bellow, not fair!
I have used the energies
to fulfil the wants
of those who made them their needs,
while my own went hungering.
So now. . . .
Brew a cup of solace
and anoint my head.
Serve mercy to garnish and appease
a heart grown turgid.
Perhaps the convalescence
will heal nerves made raw
by my passion to breath
the sanctimonious air
of sheltered existence.
And perhaps. . . just perhaps
I will forget enough and decide
to choose the green earth again.
written January 23, 1987
photo by Jon Katz