Give Us New Hope—5 poems

Give Us a Floor

 Give us a floor we can drag a chair over
 And leave a mark
 A hardwood floor that can take a lot of dancing
 We want a floor that you leave your shoes on and tap when you like 
 A floor you can jump on
 Give us a floor where a kid can bang a hammer for an hour
 And no one cares
 We want a good flat floor strong enough for a piano or two
 A floor that can bear the weight of ten bass amps
 Fifty stomping bikers on choppers
 And still be fine for yoga in the morning
 It is important to have a floor you can fall on
 A floor good for trying risky positions
 Tipsy calisthenics
 Maybe one day we’ll want to invite
 Multi-faith obesity groups intent on leaping and praying
 A floor equipped to bear them all
 And still take a child’s lightest footfall
 With never the creak of any small floor complaint
 A floor to hold up the elephants
 And hippopotami
 A floor, please, to take the great weight of human hearts
 Held in thrall by mere matter
 By love by stampede
 We want a floor to bear seven generations
 Each unfolded out of the other
 All at once in a great hootenanny and holler
 A floor to bear the greatest table ever made
 For a feast where no one’s missing
 We don’t want some poor flat excuse
 We don’t want some bottom-line trapdoor
 We want a floor to hold the world up when it’s exhausted
 A floor to keep the sky on when it’s drained and dry
 And ready to fall
  
 It’s time we had the floor
 Give us the floor 

New Hope

for Martin Luther King, Jr.

 Whatever else words have done
 It is good they came together 
 In such a way from your soul that day
 And you said it for all time
 To all people
 A dream that won't be denied
 Not in this life
 Not in the next
  
 And here's to the imperfect
 Who marched anyway
 And here's to the protected
 Who left their safety
 To demonstrate
 And you Martin
 Brave, imperfect, practical and holy
 My favorite American
 The greatest orator of hope
 Ever captured on a camera
  
 I add once more to all the waters
 Wept at your words, my tears again
 Today
  
 Yes, but new hope too!
 In that way
 You are not gone—
  
 In that way 
 You are ever new—
 Every day people still get
 New hope from you 

Suffrage

 With a dark mark
 My intent is known
  
 All my power contracts
 Smaller than a pupil
  
 To provide one ink drop
 Of ocean
  
 More countable
 Than blessings
  
 And I may have to walk
 A mile for this
  
 I may have to stand in line
 With hundreds
  
 Fixing the bulls eye
 Firmly in mind
  
 Every mark for now 
 A sacred star compressed
  
 A massive black dot
 Telescoped 
  
 To a tiny circumference
 Of suffrage
  
 Secret
 Explosive or not
  
 I fold it in upon itself
 And slip my will into the slot 

More Than Never

  More than never
 Possibly as often
 As always
 If not, absolutely
 Somewhere
 In between
  
 But who's counting
 We happen
 We live
 More than never
 And less than always
  
 We learn
 Or not
 The quanta 
 Do not vary by fractions
 They double or halve
  
 We may not be 
 The same awareness
 But we share
 A hinge
 We all swing 
 Into one frame
 Doors
 To one interior
  
 How often with one touch
 Do we all open at once?
  
 More than never
 Possibly not enough 

One Day I Predict

 One day I predict
 We’ll be amazed
 At our strength
 We will look at one another
 Astonished and say
 We didn’t think we could do this
  
 One day the path will be so clear
 We will all say: it’s obvious
 And we will hardly believe
 We couldn’t see the way before
  
 One day I predict
 We’ll have this great true story to tell
 A kind of anti-Iliad
 For the coming age
 Involving all of us
 Who think we are not warriors
 And all of us who fear
 We are not brave 

Untitled
©2015 G Jamie Dedes, z”l

The poems One Day I Predict and Give us a Floor were first published in the book Previously Feared Darkness by Robert Priest (ECW Press).

Read more about Robert Priest and some other poems in The BeZine blog.


©2020 Robert Priest
All rights reserved

Author:

The focus of "The BeZine," a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines, is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our work covers a range of topics: spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, current events, history, art, and photography and film. We share work here that is representative of universal human values however differently they might be expressed in our varied religions and cultures. We feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters, and not as “other.” This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits here will help you to love (respect) not fear. For more see our Info/Mission Statement Page.

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