15 October 2016

When I Consider How My Time is Spent


I wonder if we also serve who only stand and wait?
So Milton said, but he was blind when channeling his God,
and I am wholly here without severed limbs to excuse
my absence from the crowds that show up for justice today.

The sun I thought would hide behind the rain shines brightly now—
even her majesty could not remain away.  She glows
and heartens all who pay respect to those who must be heard.
(I know the arguments, I’ll say to those who question me.)

Yet sun just knocked upon the door of my blind heart to say
Presence is power, as you know by now,” and I nod, “Yes.”
A cloud sets in as she departs, and I begin to pray
"Hold safe all who gather there and the rest of us forgive."

I know there’s other ways to serve then gathering en masse,
but the invisible is hard to count in streets and polls.
I know no one will miss my voice this day among the throng,
yet I will mourn this one more time my “yes” seems to be a ‘no.”

Do I dare tell of derision the silence now unfolds?
God asks “What use is being counted when you do not heed
the call that fires words neglected and dying in your soul?
Give up your need to be a part of what you have not earned.”

My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2016 Susan L. Chast

*Here is Milton's famous sonnet:

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait."



Sherry Blue Sky said...

Yes, the guilt of not being there, though we cannot always be. My heart is in the Dakotas right now. Bless those there. And we will be too, on other days, in nearer places to let our voices be heard. Meanwhile, thankfully, we can lend our voices through poetry. I resonate with this one, Susan, a lot.

Mary said...

Indeed I too wonder if we also serve today who only stand and wait. I hope so! I hope there is not a time (in this election cycle) that I wish I had done more & not only stood and waited.

Martin Kloess said...

Great reflection! Even I, who has done so much. wonder could I have done more...

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

My marching days are done, but we do what we can. Expressing our views in print and online (including the signing of petitions) is doing something, and I hope and trust it may be effective more often than not.

kaykuala said...

Do I dare tell of derision the silence now unfolds?
the call that fires words neglected and dying in your soul?

Do we have the courage to stand up and be counted. There seems to be lots of ill-will pervading the political scene. No one seems to care. Come November a new President might even want to be heard. He or she might flex some muscles and the rest of the world shivers wondering what's next!


brudberg said...

A rare thing to praise is duty.. love where you took this... this is perhaps a bit how I was brought up...

Jae Rose said...

I love the idea of sun knocking on our door - what could be better

Sanaa Rizvi said...

This is absolutely stunning, Susan 💖 I love how you took inspiration from Milton's sonnet and let your voice shine through the poem. Sigh.. beautifully penned.💖

Lots of love,

thotpurge said...

Give up your need to be a part of what you have not earned.”
... that's deep, profound and timely. Very motivating contemplation.

Loredana Donovan said...

Such a timely poem, Susan. I love "power is presence." We can make a difference by speaking about issues through writing and poetry. Let words be used for the good, let them shine.

Magaly Guerrero said...

The sun is very wise. We should follow the example of his shine. The things we would be able to do--for each other and for Nature--if we only followed the teachings of the sun...

rallentanda said...

Rosemary is right. If everyone did something through petitions or writing it would have to make a difference.I don't think they serve at all who only stand and wait.
Milton's theology is flawed.Everyone should contribute something no matter how small way. There are religious orders who take a vow of silence and pray for the world, year in year out...standing and praying or being pro active is a better idea.

colleen said...

Something in this feels true to this time. I like when the sun knocked on the door to say presence is power.

annell said...

I was reading you, as you were reading me. I will miss you......

Matthew Henningsen said...

Such a great reflection on writing, and why we write. All of that toil, and all of that waiting in silence somewhere. Very interesting.

Truedessa said...

I can hear the wonder in your words. How can one better serve the greater purpose of the world. I know not the the answers, but I try to do my part the best I can.

Old Egg said...

What a remarkable poem this is Susan. All we really need to do is do no harm. Sadly human are not good at doing that with our insatiable greed, our waste, our intolerance and cruelty.

Wendy Bourke said...

I believe that sharing the lessons of a lifetime of experience is the greatest service that we can give of ourselves. Time spent in conversation with youth about values and fairness and tolerance - and imparting the peace to be found in living a life guided by the principles one comes to know and embrace, through education and introspection, is a wonderful contribution to this world. Sadly, the value of "old" wisdom is sometime that our society does not treasure, as it should. A thoughtful and thought provoking piece, Susan.

Sara McNulty said...

This is beautiful, and a unique place to take this prompt. Right now, I feel like my hands are tied.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

The marches seem to achieve nothing and yet we must march.

gillena cox said...

I am happy for the voice of poetry like the sun knocking on doors, bearing it's presence

Thanks for dropping by my blog this week Susan

Much love...

Gillena Cox said...

Monday WRites 79 is live; you are invited to link in

much love...

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Giving up what we think we need is not always easy to do!