Did you meet in Damascus?
Did you greet at the stalls
and meet in your homes,
all safe in their walls?
Was there never a time
when your people weren’t here?
Did you meet in Damascus
Did you meet in Homs
where your buildings were tall,
where the foundations laid
were the surest of all?
When the children jeered
and the guns came in,
did you meet in Homs still
Did you meet in Aleppo?
Did you gather as one?
Did you watch as the armies
burnt in like the sun?
Were your family called kaffirs
and your friends sent from you?
Did you meet in Aleppo
What weighs heaviest now will soon be light;
what looms most stormily passes soon.
Clouds cannot linger; waves must break.
Because of this, we wait.
This lightness feels most dense now, but
the weight of glory, light as air,
will fall and smother all your Now
and revel in Not Yet.
We call to mind His Nonetheless and trust;
bookends of anguish hope in morning joy.
Though now the question, soon falls this reply:
Be gathered up in sky.
Held down by denial,
oppressed by oblivion,
as torrents break we fancy them a whirlpool.
Nothing prepares for this crisis of self,
when the spirit, crying, How long, how long?
hears instead the call to crawl
into the dust and weep.
To whom have You dealt thus?
Yet no better are we who bear Your name and smirk
than those who know no different.
Beneath Your wounds, this is joy:
the outcome sure,
where cross and crown stand interwoven.
Remember us, Jesus, when You return.
We remember Your cross, and wait.
How long? How long? I drag my voice.
I cling, I waiver, I thirst, I desire –
My spirit shall rejoice.
In silence, in hum of background noise,
I stretch my neck from familiar mire –
How long? How long? I unravel voice.
The wait, the weight of hidden joys,
When all my sky clouds round and gyres –
My spirit shall rejoice.
Expectancy grows numb. Life silences choice.
Better to shake, better to blaze on fire.
How long? How long? I unfurl my voice.
Complacency leadens; I wave but cannot hoist.
Yet what is lost? the dove’s coo enquires.
Can the spirit still rejoice?
The soul’s pivot; heaviness gathers poise.
Let anchored hope never expire.
How long? How long? Lift high your voice.
My spirit, my spirit shall rejoice.
Waves drag, anchor fails –
my God my God why
In this torpor, what lifts?
The heart, bird-like, hovers –
an albatross, a vulture?
Yet a dove dives deep and holds;
it coos what cannot be cried.
My God my God why
– too heavy for words, yet hands can be raised,
barely, above the waves.
This is enough. Moan, wail, cry.
Words are not needed where the Spirit has flight.
Trust, and open your drowning arms.