My Brothers and Sisters

I wish I had the prose 
Of Henry David Thoreau
And walking was my Way
To see the Wild run and play 

Then Walden would be my place
To receive manna and grace
Growing my spirit wide and deep 
From nature’s food and sleep.

Being quiet and being still
Learning to bend with God’s will
Bowing down
Resting on the ground
Drinking from streams 
Inspiring my dreams
Smelling the soil
Recovering my senses
Opening my hand
Becoming defenseless.

With The Genius I’d freely stand
And Saunter through this barren land
As Truth shaped and filled my soul
My mind and mouth would overflow
Great wisdom I would know
Perchance, I would write fast
Learning how to live slow
Just like Thoreau.

I wish I had the chagrin
Of one Dane named Soren
I bet his purity of heart
Would give me a running start
To take the leap of faith
And imitate the God-man.

Where would I be
If it wasn’t for Soren
The existential madman
Who cast aside love 
And finally his pseudonym
To take on the church
And Hegel’s little system.

Maybe if wrote like him
I’d too be an outcast
And my words would outlast 
My age’s drunken order
Because I was the one
Who finally got sober

Like the great Fork
I would drive a spoke
Into the heart of sin
Wielding my mighty pen
Refusing the spotlight
So I can hide in plain sight.

With fear and trembling
He made us aware 
The Sickness unto death 
Was indeed, despair
And Christianity wasn’t the Way 
To imitate Christ 
Rather it was the hidden works
And the hidden life  

That proclaims the gift of faith
And declares that Love is relentless 
Especially in times of melancholy 
We can trust his abiding presence.

Soren stood alone 
Drawing distinctions in the sand 
I want to be like him
No matter what
Always writing
Almost dead
Still fighting.

I want to be brave like Frederick Douglass
When it doesn’t make sense
To know that life is worth the struggle
Love’s greatest gifts are free
And given to all people
The lowest are raised up for all to see
That the answer to hate is always mercy

I want to speak like the Great Lion
But great wisdom only comes from great pain
No one on this earth can be the North Star
Unless they’ve drank deeply from life’s vein.

How does such suffering not turn to hate?
How does pain not turn to bitterness?
How does one’s heart not turn to stone?
How does one’s body and spirit ever find rest?

It’s a mystery that I cannot comprehend
When I read the story written by him
One of miracle and of mystery
A free soul lifted up
To change history.

I wish I had the wee moed
Of Vincent Van Gogh
Who followed the call
To heal his woe

He did not fit in
To religion
But to nature
He was her best friend

To the world he was outcast
In poverty he painted
With his brother by his side
He looked to heaven and lamented

Pleading to be known
Begging to be seen
The wisp of smoke rising
From someone so obscene

Daring to dream
Following Nature to her secret chambers
Wanting to see her dance
In the fields and in the stars

Feeling so broken
An old wine skin
Overflowing with divine understanding
Looking behind the veil
Being crushed by holiness
Transformed to be the place
Where we taste and see
God.

I want to be like Dorothy Day
Who gave it all away
To show us that feeding the poor 
Is the greatest sign of wisdom
And looking after widows and orphans 
Is the highest calling of heaven.

I want to be like Simone Weil
Whose compassion and empathy 
Plunged her into poverty
Choosing sacrifice and suffering 
To the world she was nothing 
But to God her love was the sacred offering.

I want the faithfulness of Harriet Jacobs
7 years in the belly of the beast
Our modern day Jonah
Patiently waiting her release

Telling her story became the flame
To reign down fire on evil’s chains
That held so many in guilt and shame.
What a beacon she became
Building a school from her pain
The eternal light they could not tame
Rising to heaven praising God’s name.

Are we not one and one not we
United in love, growing the fruit of peace
With gentleness and patience living the Way
Confessing our weakness
Waiting for Divine strength
Kind to creature and to creation
Fighting for justice and mercy
Being good and faithful to Truth
Sacrificing all for the Life
Experiencing the gift of each other
Fully embracing the moment
Loving our neighbor
Bringing these witnesses with us
Remembering their blood, sweat and tears
In stories, songs and poems
Marching us through the darkness
Creating the path that guides us home.

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