Posted by on Oct 27, 2010 in Reflections | 6 comments

Peace 
 
 … and a thousand souls around you will be saved.

- St. Seraphim of Sarov

 

Making Peace

by Denise Levertov

 A voice from the dark called out,
"The poets must give us
imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar
imagination of disaster. Peace, not only
the absence of war."

 But peace, like a poem,
is not there ahead of itself,
can't be imagined before it is made,
can't be known except
in the words of its making,
grammar of justice,
syntax of mutual aid.

A feeling towards it,
dimly sensing a rhythm, is all we have
until we begin to utter its metaphors,
learning them as we speak.

 A line of peace might appear
if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,
revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,
questioned our needs, allowed
long pauses. . . .

A cadence of peace might balance its weight
on that different fulcrum; peace, a presence,
an energy field more intense than war,
might pulse then,
stanza by stanza into the world,
each act of living
one of its words, each word
a vibration of light–facets
of the forming crystal.

 

On this particular Poetry Wednesday, the story heaviest on my mind is not mine to tell, thus I must talk in generalities. And that's just what makes this poem, this brilliant piece of writing, so applicable to my current situation. See, thus far I've worked primarily on learning to accept my own lot within any given stage of parenthood. That was hard enough, I tell you, but nothing in comparison, I have discovered, with attempting to "make peace" with the trying circumstances plaguing my growing, and "newly awakened to the oft cruel unfairness of life" child.   I wasn't prepared for this part,  in which my role as a mother would shift from "fixer" to "hands-tied listener."  I didn't expect my savage maternal instincts to take over so, overshadowing with their biased fierceness my eternal mindset.

 I've had to re-visit these last couple of days St. Seraphim's quote about souls being saved via our acquirement of peace. Due precisely to the  intensity of my affections, it is vitally important I maintain at home, via my thoughts, words and deeds, my firm conviction that God's will governs all. Those kids can smell fear, doubt, hypocrisy a mile away. When I pray with them, "into your hands, O Lord Jesus Christ, I commend our spirits and our bodies," only to turn around and resent their exposure to the very trials necessary for their  salvation, I risk confusing them.  When faced with brick walls, closed doors – a Divine reply of, "no," how do I, really, hope they'll learn to consistently respond? By wasting hours, days, years on bitterness, on searching desperately for loopholes?

Well, of course not.  

 A line of peace might appear
if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,
revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,
questioned our needs, allowed
long pauses. . . .

I'm beginning here, with this poem, with this time set aside to reflect, to pause and question (yet again) my "need" for a painless existence for my children, trusting the restructuring of my priorties will  bless them and ultimately, maybe not tomorrow or the next day, but eventually, help to instill within them patience and an all-consuming faith in God's goodness and wisdom.

POETRY WEDNESDAY