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                -- t. e. lawrence

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He Was Hardly With Us

He was hardly with us;
then you came.
Laughing claw,
you pounce and overtake
slash our lives
disorganize our souls
heckle our prayers.

And you.
God of creation
mountain builder, bloom tender –
Why do you permit
this mutating artifice?
How shall we worship,
Holder of cards?

Laughing claw,
you took him cell by cell
breath by breath;
even merlins stoop to kill.
He was my brother,
not some raptor’s prey;
how could you kill him so?

And you,
to let him die?
Dare we gather now in your special shell?
What simples would you choose?
How would you heal us?

Better the blade in my body
up and in, side to side –
Laughing claw, I will slice myself first.
You will not pierce

And I
and all of us
must now our peace with you
Where shall we find
the strength you demand?
You see us
age on age
shorn of loved ones
stumbling through tears.
Under your porcelain gaze
we grope for your promise –
I am so angry with you
you must hold me
and hold me
until I can love you again.

He died yesterday.
I will die tomorrow.
And all, near and far
will disappear
a panoply of lives
aspirations ground to dust.

Or so it seems.

He was my brother
and brother to us all
as I am sister to the world.
We will not knuckle
nor leave our dreams dispersed.

We are the people whom you made.
Rude and defiant
wrong more than right
we will insist
your covenant see us through
and Laughing, and all your claws
we will disarm
using gifts you have bestowed.

We will suffer toward that place
where we can sing
unmake those claws
find the greater peace.

And I will sing my brother’s name
to the margin of your universe
in joy and expectation
will I sing
for you would never trick my eyes
so I will see him
young and strong
a greater light
in your perfect heaven.