He awoke to the discovery
of holes in the roof above his bed.
Rain was dripping slowly, rhythmically
in great droplets on his head.
All his life, through flush and thin
he had trusted in this shelter
against the storm. It had been
security and comfort. He felt it
like a blanket, wrapped around him.
Yet now there was no room for doubt:
the weeping gods had found him
and would force him out
of bed. Insistent tear!
He thought of turning on his side
but that would only fill his ear
with heaven's outrageous tide.
Get up and find the pitch and patch the hole
that threatens peace;
it might just be good for the soul
to soil the hands in grease…
…On the other hand, a moment to reflect
is always wise.
Less work means less one must correct
or others criticize.
Soon enough the rain will end
and then what use will be the patching tar?
Do the holes not finally portend
a clear though narrowed focus on the stars?
Best to bide the time and see
what clouds the wind will blow away or keep.
Decided it was wise to let it be.
Pulled up the blanket and went back to sleep.
She woke in wonder.
steady rain, a cataclysm in the night,
tore holes in the roof, peeled it back
like opening the doll house of her childhood
to rearrange the helpless little lives.
Gods make such cruel use of wind.
Spent the night in a closet
safe enough, she prayed.
But in the vortex safety is an illusion;
rather, trust in luck. And she was lucky.
The wind blows where it will, she remembered,
though having heard the sound approach,
she thought she knew both whence and where.
Luck is a relative thing:
it offers and it snatches away
breath in exchange for breathing’s reasons,
heartbeat for habits of the heart.
Not much left of furnishings, assumptions;
find the clock in the neighbor’s yard,
the notebook come to rest just down the block.
Nothing left to do
but change her state of mind.
No time to mourn what wind has torn away.
She breathes, and gathers up the remnants
of her thoughts. Other storms
are forming on the far horizon.
She finds a pen, sits down, begins to write.
Interesting, Paul. I like the sense of vulnerability and uncertainty this conveys, reminding the reader that though danger looms, threatens our peace of mind, and upends our security—it is ours is to decide how to respond.
Thanks, Jan. I was also playing with the idea that a lot of us old male theologians are—or can be—asleep through the storms that are blowing through theology, and that the real creative response is coming more and more from female theologians. That is certainly reflected in my recent reading, anyway.
And I thought it was mostly pure fun – structurally and conceptually.