True – but the wait weighs heavily now.
So many delays, and you can expect
more road blocks through the coming weeks
as rolling closures right across the north-west
make violent signs of little worth.
Light and momentary?
Perhaps; so, at least, we trust,
yet faith not sight must rule the game
if there’s to be more than witches’ hats
and traffic jams to show.
Yet think: soon, one day soon,
when the barriers roll back
and new lanes are revealed – then,
perhaps, we will say it was worth the wait.
Better by far the day when all roads,
all stones, will give way
to say, Make way.
Make eternal the way;
light now is momentary, yet when it dawns
none of our roadblocks will stand.
Fire is the colour of the eastbound sun
lighting the face of the dusty sky.
Ash is the colour of this roadwork black,
of tarmac where the plane lost flight.
Red is the colour of the traffic light,
gold the colour in the new day’s eye,
and ash to ash is this road we drive;
no dust be lost today.
…lucky to be leafless:
Deciduous reminder to let go.
(Eugene Peterson, “Blessed are the poor in spirit”)
Lost in auto-pilot, I find myself,
false turn on false turn, circling in
this airport country where lanes diverge to let
the suitcase-laden taxi-bound
find ways to cities, and ways away.
A loop, and again I am where
I more or less should be: a road.
Yet airport, out of place, lingers in memory,
and just above
the warehouse-horizon hovers
a plane, a reminder, lest
in all my circling I forget.
Trucks are bound where their cargo is bound;
my cargo’s built for no road,
only sky. And so this day,
let transit pierce the veil;
amidst all of this,
Within this mist we could be anywhere:
A grassy knoll sits where the freeway
Meets the the Bridge; the air is frozen today
And the smell of Vegemite hangs in the air.
Chimneys puff in protest or in vapour prayer;
The sky in its veil has nothing to say,
But my father’s taught me in his silent way
To see the spots where grace snaps through the snare –
And there are many. If my mind is still,
I can count in fingerprints of Light
These scattered signs that put the fear to flight.
Schedules muffle anguish. Let them stand until
The day declares: “Not you, not even you,
Can conquer us – we belong to the true.”
Ding the lights of the level crossing red;
The common man is held at standstill now.
He measures plight in traffic lights and how
Great the cost to take the Bridge instead.
The day is long but time spent here is dead,
Growing only lines on furrowed brow.
I will not kneel to son of man nor bow
To what your flashing indicators said…
This is, I’m sure, not how today should go;
Yet everyone’s caught up in it the same:
To dream of other places where we may
Ride out our days without delay or foe,
To cast off self and hurl each other names
And long for streams where stress is washed away.
Stuck in horrendous traffic on the way to work yesterday, I began to reflect on the irony that, as someone who spends most of my life talking about reading and writing, I have remarkably little time to read or write. This is what those thoughts generated.
The sky is clear
but in the distance clouds gather
in manifold metallic tones.
The road lies open, save the lane
where a car met a day that ruptured its way,
crushed its bonnet, its schedule;
we mouth our complaints.
Red messages warn that soon we too will be disrupted.
Slower than usual, no reason or sign,
traffic takes no heed that your wife is sick,
that someone’s possibility has been shattered,
that today’s already a write-off inside your mind.
Functional to the last, roads rule only in chance,
yet birds still fly in sequence
and atop a warehouse a naked cross stands.
Perhaps in this noise somewhere a chapel lies,
and sandaled feet might still flop-flip even on this road,
fingers beckoning, spirit pulling: Follow me.
The self-sufficiency of traffic signs tells
nothing of our insides.
Expect delays; accept delays:
the deism of the day ends here.