Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The best time to plant a tree is always today

Photograph from SueAnn's Journey

A poem written for dVerse Poetics today, using a photograph of Sue Ann. It also draws on a suffering and healing reflection from  Quaker Faith and Practice (Britain Yearly Meeting). The poem  is based on a Spanish form called Cueca Chilena.

Looking out, makes me sixteen,
alone in the world,
friendless, utterly friendless,
ill and full of woes.
Yet boarding school womb
kept me happier
then the three months of pretence,
families do no harm.

I was awake for three weeks,
doctors refused pills,
and too young for hospital.
So I was pious,
yet dark courage picked
me for action
and I blessed my weeping wrists
to make life an act.

Suicide I did not fear.
The grief of parents
even those contracted to love,
made me cold and pale.
Yet the morning pause,
as staff and girls learn
how I became a story,
made loneliness less.

I thought long with strange wisdom,
(the child now silenced
by voices old when Christ died).
for Plato’s Greek sings.
Yet what wisdom, since
Socrates was lost
and made by hemlock promise.
Tears are for which loss?

I decided not to die,
it was cowardly.
I prayed to find sleep
and to feel comfort.
Yet who counts the cost
of dreams while they wait?
At fifty-one they came true
to save me from waste.

Love was still a lonely wait
under growing trees
not yet able to give shade
to life’s bitter truths.
Yet spring will triumph
for those in despair
to bring joy into each life
and be death’s defeat.

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