Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Leland Grammer, AIM '04, San Diego, is a poet, and when I was telling him about the blog, he said he could pass me something. And here it is. Thank you, Leland, for shaking things up a little, and I hope we can have more things like this in the future.
WHEN THE LORD BROUGHT BACK THE CAPTIVE ONES TO ZION, WE WERE LIKE THOSE WHO DREAM
Unable to sleep, wild-eyed with visions of earth-turning possibilities. We saw the Messiah speaking marvelous things from the mountainside, of a kingdom enchanting us to love our enemy and beat our swords into plowshares to feed the hungry at our tables. Next, we saw our very hands hoisting a cross up, our deliverer fastened by nails, and I couldn’t understand. Then he rose to life. Surely, now we know, there is something worth dying for and nothing worth killing for. Sights so strange and illuminating, they drifted on the edge of absurdity. Silence only made us giddy.
THEN OUR MOUTH WAS FILLED WITH LAUGHTER AND OUR TONGUE WITH JOYFUL SHOUTING.
All along the road home from exile and in our great city’s streets, people would stand and stare, as if we were walking through the red sea again. From every crowd someone would raise their voice
THE LORD HAS DONE GREAT THINGS FOR THEM.
It became so common, we would simply shout back,
THE LORD HAS DONE GREAT THINGS FOR US, WE ARE GLAD.
At which point we would turn to each other and smile knowingly.
Time slowly lurched forward. The elation slipped from my brow and nightfall found me with handfuls of salty tears, as I thought about my nation, my city, my own village. So filled with ego, inflated with an unquenchable rumbling for more and eyes forever flitting toward shame. My Creator, my God of cosmic impossibilities, You have been reduced to a trinket in our surplus gift shop. One phrase loops inside me.
RESTORE OUR CAPTIVITY, O LORD. RESTORE OUR CAPTIVITY. RESTORE OUR CAPTIVITY, LIKE STREAM BEDS.
Turn the ever-changing wilderness of our moody heart into inhabitable dwelling places.
This is the legacy of my Ancestors. This is the story my father spoke of to me. And as I look out my window, momentarily lost in the blue white canopy, I recall all that the Lord has done for me and where he has brought me from. When I look out over this time called America, not much has changed behind the wizard’s curtain of the twenty-first century, with it’s cars and technological advancements. I see the pride, the wanting of it all, the scandal of my father’s ancient city. Aggressive and judgmental I want to say ‘Wake me when I’m free, I cannot bear captivity.’ Then a tear catches my eye as I hear my mother say, as if the very words were ringing in my ears,
THOSE WHO SOW IN TEARS WILL REAP WITH JOYFUL SHOUTING.
And she would hand me a bag of seed and add, ‘Today…small things with great love.’
My days in the field and the sweat spent toiling with rows and rows of dirt are now concrete and people with their own plot. So I tell the children on my block,
HE WHO COMES AND GOES WEEPING, CARRYING HIS BAG OF SEED WILL COME AGAIN WITH A SHOUT OF JOY, BRINGING HIS BUNDLES WITH HIM.
Now every morning before I go out I cram every pocket and stuff my mouth with mustard seeds. Another world is possible. It whispers to us. Love is more powerful than hatred. Violence can be mirrored without imitation. There is enough for everyone’s need but not everyone’s greed. The struggle is a gentle revolution that dances on the laughter of children. Delicate dreamers, of such pure nonsense, that the good news of one man could actually erase the entire shoreline of humanity’s bad news.