Sparked by Words

One cannot measure another’s pain

No one can tell why the stranger

Wakes sobbing in the tomb of night

Swerves, driving, distracted with grief, and kills

Beats a loved one swollen, senseless

Shrieks words no ear was ever meant to audit

We, the witness, perhaps the victim

Hear only plaintiff screams of nightmare

See staggered desolation of auto accident

Daub bloody welts and bruises of injured flesh

Calm sobs and whimpers that breach our space

No scale weighs human suffering

Or balances action and intent

Restores howling distress to comfort’s level plane

Laws merely define acceptable codes

Capture limp body but not ailing soul

Punish lines crossed by rant and rage

We who are left bear the cuts, the breaks

The tenuous grip of our stance on ground

We cleanse the damage

Rake torn flesh and dried tears into piles

With fallen leaves and rotting acorns

Common detritus mixed casually with rare

Assuage the tremor of craven spirits

Plant new flowers, mow young grass shoots

Use hurts like mulch rebuilding broken earth

Pay for repairs as if labor were a salve

And in the blackness of our broken dreams

In the somber coil of our own night

We sacrifice our future and pawn our ancient debts

We genuflect to graven idols in clouds of acrid smoke

Carve holy spirits in rancid tendrils of spilled wine

We deny our history and excuse it from commission

Compose laments like innocent children asking why

We beg redemption and grant privilege to

The one true God and all the gods

To protect us from malice of our own pain

To shield our loved ones from wrath

That we cannot touch but that burdens us

Like rocks slung over our backs and

Knives rending our hearts

Words that are a cleft in our soul

Because if we cannot measure the pain of another

We surely cannot define our own

God’s voice is not in the fury, the scream, the loathing screech

Not even in the pain we feel that propels

Our arm to lash, our muscle to pummel, our mouth to abuse

But in the hush after the storm

In the whisper of regret

In the murmur of remorse

In the silent wail of the callow heart

God can be heard

Be still


Comments on: "The Silent Wail of the Callow Heart" (2)

  1. I am constantly amazed by your writing. Nicely done.


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