Lauds and Compline
I walk in the heavy morning air of mid-August,
suffocating, yet elated.
Despite my awkward old-age heaviness,
exhilaration exudes from the marrow.
A good Creator has, despite my contrariness,
granted a new day.
So I walk, in gratitude,
singing to myself the hymns of my childhood.
I conclude with the remembrance, long dormant,
of an obscure fourth verse. So satisfying!
Then, I detect a fellow walker,
emitting an indistinct sound from some device.
“How dare he infringe my worship with his din?”
Then, I draw closer, and the noise resolves
Tempo, chords, and composition, are foreign
yet the same good Creator
is praised, with joy and power.
And so for a quarter mile, I lurk
within worshipful distance.
We meet by and by.
My new brother, Solomon.
Late that same night, world-weariness presses down the old preacher.
Yes, there is still joy, but the feet are sore and the bed beckons.
“Just a bit further. The time for resting is not yet.”
In a dim shelter, residents fill my ear with stories
of logging, and methadone programs, and favorite authors.
Yes. It is as random as it sounds.
Then, bursting in,
a new, angry friend,
like a prophet, but all noise,
never resolving into Gospel.
Dramatic confusion born out of hurts
-- personal and tribal --
he quotes myriad unrelated scriptures without understanding.
And yet, there is something loving and lovable
about a man who bears the burden of a daddy shot by drug dealers,
and the desire to make sense out of the inhumanity and cruelty
poured out on a race for generations.
I can do nothing about the slave trade. Nothing about the drug dealers.
Nothing about the hurt and pain he experiences daily.
Nothing but love.
I can hope that when the Morning comes,
and this long night is over,
John will be my brother too.