Poem: “The empty cave”

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Poem: “The empty cave”

Let me be clear:

In the face of hate and fear,

I choose hope and love.

 

But what about the Ku Klux Klan?

What about the yahoos in the gas station:

“Watch out. We’re in charge again”?

What about the man to the woman, “Bow down”?

What about the weeping eight-year-old Mexican boy?

 

I will not demonize.

I will not stew in cozy bile.

 

I will live with the complex pain of living —

yeah, that slash and gash and throb

and nerve-ending scream.

 

I will act not

on shadows and phantoms.

 

I will offer cheek, coat, open wound.

 

Yes, I want to curl up and close my eyes

and suck at some convenient breast,

but I choose to look into the face of each soul

and — hard as it is — to show my true face,

the face I am trying to find.

 

I have seen fear kill —

over the centuries and in a backyard in Oak Lawn.

 

Photo: James Emery

Photo: James Emery

I know the nails were hammered into innocent wrists.

He could have gotten up the night before

and walked out of that fetid garden.

Afraid, he chose.

 

He died. And, later,

the cave was empty,

an echo space full of fear or hope.

 

Patrick T. Reardon

11.11.16

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Karen Griebel says:

    Thank you!

    Have been thinking about your wise choice to check a biography re: Andrew Jackson, weeks ago.

    Hope to connect again soon.

    Karen Griebel

    • Patrick T. Reardon says:

      Andy Jackson turned out to be a great president. Have no idea what’s in store for us, but I feel it’s important that I approach it with humility and humanity.

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