Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Vernacular - a poem from a sermon. Sort of.

The opening two lines of this poem appeared unbidden in my mind as I was listening to the sermon in Holy Trinity last Sunday. Hugh, this is for you!


Abraham, Abraham - gonnae no?
Gonnae no dae that?
Is that how you might hear the God
these days, the moment that you’re poised 
to do whatever horrid thing seems suddenly 
a pressing need - the familiar
cadence of a homely voice? No
thundering winds, no wildfire roar
but unmistakably addressing you
with some urgency - no chance of
misunderstanding that.
You drop the knife right there, son,
and your boy lives.
How was it in the dark of night
when the Temple slept and the voice 
whispered through the echoing space
where the lamps flickered 
and the boy woke and heard
his name - Hey, Sam, Sam, 
gonnae waken up? 
And Elijah under his solitary bush?
Son, ye cannae sleep - Elijah 
eat your tea and get your strength and
get tae where ye’re gaun.
Are we bereft because we listen 
for the voice in perfect prose
preferably with a touch of
sixteen hundreds charm
and then we miss the total
urgency of what we need 
to hear, to heed, to know?
And so the cosmic words go on
in Babel tones among the crowd:
Écoute-moi - escucha -
 hören - ascoltare! The voice persists, 
the voice of  friend, of stranger
in a bar, a chance 
meeting by the way. So, all of yous
gonnae listen the noo?

©C.M.M. 06/13

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