Wednesday, May 17, 2006

For the Fallen

What need of hope when on two proud feet
We stand safely on home ground?
What need of wealth has the solvent
Whose well-financed business thrives?
What need of might has the strong
Health for the hale, the rested for rest,
The clear-eyed for clarity, the clever for wits,
The knowing for knowledge, the wise for wisdom?

Seeing far with clear-sighted eyes
None blink away tears of regret or pain or sadness.

It is only after a fall,
Having stumbled,
Having been pushed,
Having fallen
By malice or illness or ill wind
Or sickness or the chill hand of death near at hand
That frustration, tears, fear and prayer
Come as the answers to our need

These are the children of pain and need
Of that lineage of age and misfortune
Whose ancestors were locked beyond the gates
From which, with our ancestors naked and shivering
Were expelled, were flung upon the world,
Who peered one last time
Beyond the flaming blade
That barred the way.

That blade comes again with every misfortune
As a memory of the fall
As a fall in itself
And like each fall,
It comes as pain and anguish
And a rush of naked need:

Clothe us,
Who having been warm, are naked
Feed us,
Who having known plenty, are starving
Heal us
Who having been whole are now hurt!

But while there is life
Man is more than his earth
More than the dust
More than that which rests in the grave
And even before the grave itself
Is hope
And man is a beast that
Having fallen but still having hope
Will rise again
Having tripped, will find his stride
Having found his knees
Will try to gain his feet

Having fallen,
Being now, as we are,
In this time that has been given to us
In the hope that we might
Stand on our feet again
In whatever time we have remaining
Let us then put our faith
In the rising.


No comments: