Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lord, teach me to number my words...

Another poem in response to Old Monk by Mary Lou Kownacki.  Obviously influenced by being on a silent retreat as I wrote it.  Opening is from Psalm 90:12.

(Warning: language not appropriate for all audiences.  Parental discretion advised)


Lord, teach me to number my days
       that I may turn my heart to wisdom.
The Cheyenne say
      each person at birth
      receives so many words.
When the words are finished,
      so, too, the person.
A girl,
      runs through the streets
      thousands upon millions of times
      shouting "F**k You!"
Until, with two words remaining,
      she falls to her knees,
      horrified and afraid.
Decade after silent decade
      she walks,
      seeking a heart still enough
            to keep closed
            her muted mouth.
Then, when an aged woman,
      alone, but not lonely,
      she whispers,
"Thank you,"
      her spirit leaves on
      her last breath
      as her silent lips mouth

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