Sunday, May 14, 2017

All is held in trust

In the spring of 2010, a house burned down in the Christian intentional community I live in. Nobody was hurt, but the house was wholly lost. It was the most beautiful house on the place, beautifully crafted with old-fashioned beams, and a living space for quite a few people. There were people still in the community whose sweat and skill and hope had gone into that house, and I knew they felt it. I wrote a poem from those thoughts.

Yesterday a meeting was held here about the final closing of the intentional community, with decisions made about the disposal of the land. It's the end of an era, and an outcome many people did not imagine as they put their sweat and skill and hope into the place.

So I thought I'd share that poem today.

Dawn opens silent as a bloom
Above the gutted house, its dark
Bones crisscrossed in the lucent air;
The phoebe sings. Which of our hearts
Could drink this young wind sweet as wine
And not taste bitter ashes? See:
All that our hands have built is tinder
For the flame. So it must be.

The phoebe sings, and flicks her tail.
Her eggs will hatch this year. Seeds wake
Beneath the blackened ground; the grass
Will rise, the fireweed and the creeper take
The ruin, wrap it close with life.
Know this: though all may burn, each day
Beneath the faithful sun ten thousand
Trees are born. The earth returns.

No. What is lost, is lost. The black
Beams wrapped in their green vines will fall,
And will not rise, though spring should wake
The dead. Some only sleep; not all.
The green heart will not beat again
In brittle branches winter-cracked;
Dead limbs that hang like bones from broken
Trees. Don't tell us it comes back.

You do not know what lies behind
My door. Where sings the fallen bird,
Where stand the shattered, crafted beams,
No eye has seen, no ear has heard.
The world's tale runs through the years:
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
But all your tears are kept within
My bottle; all is held in trust.

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