Friday, November 23, 2007

It Is Cold Outside of Boston (A Prayer for Helen)

Listen to this post:

It is cold outside of Boston
And my breath hangs like a cloud
Like a fading moon of vapor
Rushing in, and rushing out

It is cold outside of Boston,
And the air, it smells like snow
And the sleep that I am losing
Is for things I cannot know

The leaves rain from the trees, so slow
Like upturned palms of praise
While the full moon laughs upon them
With a blessing in his gaze

And I wonder as I watch them,
As they rock down to the floor,
If it's only breath we're given
If it's breath - and not much more.
And what is in your breath, O God
That wakes a man from clay
And who are you that made a man
That loves to turn away?
Why can we not be like the leaves
And turn our palms in praise?
Why grant the choice of blessing
To a brief and flick'ring flame,
To a river that flows upward
To a son that jilts the Name?

It is cold outside of Boston
And the frost is on the ground
To freeze the sap within the bough
And sharpen every sound

On wintry nights like these I've heard
Your Spirit walks abroad
In search of hearts wherein
Still flows unfrozen love of God

Your heart, O mighty heart, my God
I wonder at its patience
At its loud, persistent knocking
At the love that charmed the ancients
That still, as though, untapped, untried
It looks for signs of life
In the wreckage of the Garden
In the scorched earth of our strife!
And while the breath that you once gave
Still in our breast does stir
May each heart that you made seek you
Ere that breath to You returns.

It is cold outside of Boston
Can I muster still a prayer?
While the grasping cold of winter
Strips the warmth from hearts and air?

Such questions now betray
That I little know of love
Of the love that made the cosmos
And sowed the stars above
Of the love that knew- that knew!
And what anguish in the knowing!
All the evil we would do
Saw the rivers ruddy flowing!
And still it said, "I'll make a man,
And make a woman, too."
Is a thing that only madmen
Or the love of God might do.

It is cold outside of Boston
And I tremble like the leaves
Though whether from the cold or
Something else, none but God sees.

And I break tonight from one thing
While my breath goes out and in:
With the burden of the choice I make
And every human being.
I can't choose for another
Can I choose it for myself?
Can I let you own me truly
Take your grace down from the shelf?
I'm bent, will you still lift me?
Will you make me straight again?
And strip my heart of all its weight
And all unnatr'l dread?
I need help just to trust you -
It takes grace just to fall
Into the arms of mercy
And on your name to call.

It is cold outside of Boston
Heaven's ardor yet is burning
It is cold outside of Boston
And some heart, please God, is turning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your poetry takes my breath away. How deep is the soul that mines such treasures there. How keen is the mind that finds such words of beauty to share them. How tender is the heart that seeks answers to the unknowable when cold winds blow.