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Posts Tagged ‘teaching’

 

I’m still learning.

            —Michelangelo, on his deathbed

Sometimes I feel as if

I missed something.

Something big. The sermon

that would forge a love affair

with the divine.

The history lesson

that would teach me

how to forgive myself.

The webinar that would train

me in doing the right thing

at the right time. If only

I had read the right book

or met the right coach

or drunk the right tea. If only.

I don’t believe it, not really,

though sometimes

I wish it were as easy

as auditing a class.

Perhaps that is why

I write poems.

I’m taking notes.

Because sometimes

the truth slips into them.

Because it’s surprisingly easy

to forget.

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I am afraid of the darkness and the hole in it.

            —Martin Luther, “Luther”

 

 

And when Martin Luther was struck with plague

in 1527, he refused to leave the city, though he trembled,

though he burned. He felt it was the devil’s assault

sent to reduce him with despair. And reduced, he was.

There is darkness so great we lose all sense of direction,

forget even which way is in. There is darkness

so great that even the holes in the darkness are terrible,

cannot be seen as light. And in that terrible August,

the Reformer argued with God. And all that terrible August,

Luther trusted God’s promises. And he told himself,

Pray. Read. Sing. And the darkness endured.

Sometimes, Luther found, there are darknesses

so great we forget how to sing ourselves. Sometimes,

the only way through darkness, through doubt,

is to teach other people to sing.

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Mommy, she says,
I can see right through myself.
What do you see,
I ask.

I see the night,
she says.
Are there stars,
I ask.

She pauses long.
Yes.
And then a few moments later
she says, Mom, I’ve disappeared.

How do they do it,
these young ones,
teach us to be
so wholly here.

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