08 January 2014

Twelve and More

Meditating the Stations of the Cross
     at the retreat stays with me:
Green leaves and pine needles as incense,
Birdsong as hymns,
Moss as pews
Friends as congregation
Worship sharing as ministry

What can you offer, Jerusalem?
Where I sent trees as a child
Where relatives hold Passover
Where past and present blood stains stones
And three mighty faiths cross paths
Though pagan gods have long gone
     the way of their emperors

My eyes and heart take in contemporary life, but
History enters through my bootsoles and weighs me down
David and Jesus Christ and Saint Paul and Muhammad
Want to be heard and the Wailing Wall weeps ragged paper
Witnessing the turmoil, suffering and triumph
Gathering the people, the people, people gathering
God will judge fair and unfair, not I 

Apostles walk countries rather than cities and stations
Washing the sand from each other’s toes
Cooking and eating meals together
Telling and listening to stories and testimony
Finding peace in rare meeting places
Building ways to stay alive together
Hearing through our inner walls

Going with Isadora's  

Out of Standard: Reverse Globetrotting. 

took me far.  This much became a poem.

Copyright © 2014 by S.L.Chast


Kerry O'Connor said...

This really reminds me of that line from e.e. cummings: 'Somewhere I have never traveled...' and that place is where three conflicting religions (all with the same genesis) can co-exist with a common goal of uniting in peace. This poem is certainly thought-provoking, Susan.

Anonymous said...

I've recently seen (thought not new, of course) the statement, there's only one difference between theists and atheists: theists believe in no gods but one, and atheists take that one step further. as Kerry notes, thought-provoking... ~

Brian Miller said...

accepting that it is not our place to judge i think is one of the first steps....religeon is such a battlefield...and i think in many ways due to our faithlessness...or weakness of faith and need to feel we are right and prove it...

the stations can def be very powerful as well...have run a stations experience before for the youth....

revelations said...

this gets me thinking.. I have always been a neutral and distant observer of religion... the fanatics on all sides frustrate the hell out of me...sometimes I wonder if open and accepting have become lost words...

Sherry Blue Sky said...

The image "the Wailing Wall weeps ragged paper" is profound. I love the "church" in the first stanza (the very best kind!), my heart resonates to "what can you offer, Jerusalem?" where "I sent trees as a child". And the fellowship of the last stanza gives peace. Wonderful writing.

Unknown said...

hearing through our inner wals. I saw a glimpse of hope at the end there susan. would that be great!

Isadora Gruye said...

I love the inner tension here between the passion and history of the narrator and the realistic setting of Jerusalem. Funny thing: when preparing my piece for the prompt, Isreal was the first place that popped into my mind, but then I second guessed that because, yeah I would love to go, danger be damned. You did lovely work invoking the richness, long overlooked by strife. Thanks as always for posting.

Maude Lynn said...

I really liked this Susan. It made me think.

Helen said...

... meditating the stations of the cross ~ I've spent many hours in that zone, cleansing .. healing. Enjoyed this immensely, Susan.

Susan said...

from Margaret

This prompt was for places we would not want to go… but your write puts me to thinking of why I would want to go there… :)

Susan said...

I love that eec poem!

Kay L. Davies said...

I was lulled by the first stanza, green leaves, pine needles, birdsong—and then surprised to find you speaking of Jerusalem, a city synonymous with both peace and war, hope and despair, God and Allah. It is hard for me to decide if you speak of Jerusalem as a place you have been, a place you want to see, or a place you don't want to visit.
I am completely ambivalent about the city, wanting to be there one minute, wanting to avoid it the next.
You are so right, however, it is not ours to judge.
Luv, K

Grace said...

I have to think & meditate on this one Susan ~ I want to visit the place, yet I know it is tinged with much blood & enmity ~ Happy Friday dear ~

Anonymous said...

You write with such extraordinary elegance and intelligence I definitely get E.E. Cummings vibe

Susie Clevenger said...

It is hard to want to go to a place where religion has such bloody footprints...I so understand