Tag Archives: trust

And that’s just you

IMG_0637Do you think that I could ever forget the sound of your voice?
Or not remember the look of your eyes?
Do you think that I cannot stop, and in stopping, pause
and in pausing bring me back to when and where I want?

Nor do I exhume those memories, I am them;
I see the once, I feel the when, I taste the where and I breathe,
(deep and long) and I am me (the me then) while you, you’re my
always you—then, now and forever; and beyond that forever
whenever that forever ends. That’s what constancy
is.

swril2

The first three weeks of March is the period of the Bahá’í fast, when Bahá’ís abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Although the fast is a wonderful time of spiritual renewal, unfortunately, for health reasons, my sister, Lucinda, cannot participate in the physical side of the process, so it is my honor each year to fast for the both of us. This poem comes out of a conversation we had one night during the fast.

This poem is in thanks for the privilege of having been her brother all my life.

The photograph was taken at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

john

Photograph, poem and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © John Etheridge,  https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its copyright holder.

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In a smithy

With the ore of your deeds
melted in the crucible of His Name—
with the heat of your desire
glowing from the fan of His Breath—
with the hammer blows of your heart
striking the anvil of His Will—
rest you not content, o smith,
for you have just begun your toil.

Quenched in the chill of separation,
annealed by the fire of faith,
tempered with the blows of duty,
forge you then the sword of your love
and there, upon the keen,
whetted edge of surrender,
sacrifice yourself, o smith,
for now you are finally done:
you know the one is only transmuted to the other
because the other is its twin.

Thank you for reading In a smithy. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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Everyone should know where they come from

A story of Dharaa, originally from Nepal; dedicated to her aunt and grandmother.

Even though we all lived together, I don’t remember
being carried by my parents, grandparents or aunt.
They must have, many times, as they and I surely did
for my little brother and sister; but knowing it
and knowing it are two different things.
The only time I remember my father carrying me
was to and from the hospital when I broke my leg.
I was 7 and despite the pain,
I was happy just to be in his arms.

I think of my aunt as my older sister, or mother, really—
our relatives still call us ‘mother-daughter.’ But try
as I might, I can’t remember her carrying me either.
It’s not that there isn’t proof because there are photos.
One I really love is of me as a baby in her lap on
her wedding day. Grandmother laughs about it now
and tells me that I was the scandal of the day,
screaming and fussing not to be taken from her,
that I was so awful my uncle’s family still
talks about it to this day!

Now I am 21 and yet, every time I visit them,
I never miss to lie in their laps, close my eyes
and drift. And they never fail to comment that now I am
a grown up lady—it’s their turn to rest on my lap
and that soon my children-to-be will lie there too.
I yell, No way, I’m not done yet and I never will be!
And as they stroke my hair, they smile secretly thinking
I don’t understand but that someday I will, and I hide
my smile from them thinking that they don’t understand,
but really I know they do. And then I realize:
when I raise my family, my children won’t remember
me carrying them. I have to buy a camera!

This is the final third of narrative type poems I’ve written recently, although this time it is not my story. I was leaping from blog to blog one day and came across a posting by a young Nepalese lady named Dharaa, entitled Don’t remember being hoisted up. I was immediately struck with how charming the story was and I asked her permission to put it into a poem, which she granted.

I hope, Dharaa, that you like it, as I hope all of you do.

Thank you for reading Everyone should know where they come from. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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Do you know a gardener?

Good loam to work your hands in,
black dirt under your nails;
back to ache, neck to burn
exhaustion from planting and worrying.
Seed to sow, rain to come, life to hold on dear to:
sacred hope, quiet hope—deepest in our hearts,
love, patience and trust,
troth to those before us.

And life grows, it does, but rarely as we will,
and sometimes, often, it’s the roots that pull you down:
because no matter how you planted them
they just up and walk away—not caring what they do or say,
or how deeply they sow inside you.

So what do you do?
You keep your head down
and keep on digging, keep on trying,
keep on watering the fertile ground
with your tears, praying as you go.

Relationships can be hard to grow, nurture and maintain. The point is not that some relationships will hurt you, because at some point they all do; the point is, how do you react when they do?

That is the measure you strive to live by.

Thank you so much for reading Do you know a gardener? I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem, either alone or with the notes that accompany it, may be printed and distributed—in part or amalgamated with other works—as long as the copyright notice and the address, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com, are also clearly printed with it and there is no fee charged.

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