Thursday, April 1, 2010

Four Questions

What bread is this that does not rise?
We can not sleep - redemption flies;
so gather what you can and run
and let it bake beneath the sun.

What is this herb of bitterness?
The flavor of our hopelessness;
the silence on a servant’s tongue,
his lamentations left unsung.

What stem drinks from a pool of tears?
You, beloved - your frontiers
spread out like a scarlet bud
from all our fathers’ bones and blood.

What is this pillow, soft and deep?
The chains we lost; the peace we keep.
The freedom where we find our rest
in fortress, field or wilderness.

It is at once our history,
our present and our prophecy;
tonight’s what changes everything
as we pass over,
into spring


Karen said...

I can't even express how this touches me. I've felt a need in this Easter season to come to grips with the desert and the bitterness and the toomb. For some reason, I've felt a lack of this reality in the busy-ness of living. Your poem has brought me back to awareness - ack to the life of Easter. I have tears in my eyes, finally. Thank you, and bless you, my most talented friend.

Karen said...

That would be "tomb" and "back". See? I couldn't see. ;-)

RachelW said...

This is very clever, and beautiful, too. Nicely done!

BloggerMouth said...

I've said it before, I'll say it again. I think almost everyone should read your poems. After THAT if they continue to be desensitized, there's no hope for anything in this world. Can you BE any more powerful with your words? Thank you for writing.

Julie said...

Brilliant. I love how you form the poem around the four questions. I also love the answer posed in the last two stanzas. It is awesome how you give the reader peace through the answers. Instead of posing the tough questions and just letting them "hang," we have a solution through the poet's words. That is so beautiful.

The questions have made me think deeply. "The silence on a servant's tongue" was particularly striking for several reasons. I think of his hopelessness, but I also think of how I am supposed to be servant-like in my attitude toward human beings. many times I've failed at that.

Thanks again for another beautiful poem, Joaquin. I walk away thinking on many levels, and that is what a poem should do. Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

this is great friend
i was surprised, somehow, to find it here
you made me smile, as always

happy holiday of freedom

פסח שמח וכשר

Sarah Hina said...

I love how you've taken an event and tradition that stretches back centuries, and infused it with the tenderness and presentness of now. Maybe because they also number four, but my mind circled around the seasons, in addition to the questions. The eternal cycle of human struggles and redemption are lost and found in your beautiful "we"'s and "our"'s here.

I was going to single out a favorite stanza, but I can't. They're all building to a greater whole, a deep and abiding feeling of acknowledgment, acceptance and peace. And the hope and strength to keep pressing forward.

I'm with Karen. Thank you for all the goodness in these lines.

Jannie Funster said...

Joaquin, no matter where my brain is at when I enter your blog's hallways, I always, always get totally immersed in the world of your words. And I float away on them.

Thank you!!


Jannie Funster said...

Annd.... I have chosen you for something special over at...


joaquin carvel said...

karen - no worries - that makes me incredibly happy. thank you.

rachel - thank you!

blo-mo - that's why i write poems on the sides of buildings. just kidding. seriously, though, i'm very grateful for the readers i have - they're the best. thank you.

julie - thank you. i can't really take credit for the questions themselves - it's kind of a gentile take on an element of passover - but they do lead to some pretty deep introspection, i think.

u-frag - so great to hear that from you - the journey to it was surprising, too - in the best way. thank you!

sarah - i hadn't thought of the seasons, but you're right. and i'm so happy you felt a peace, hope, strength - that's how i felt writing it. thank you.

jannie - what an awesome thing to say. and an awesome thing to receieve - thank you!

pravin nair said...

that indeed, was a great piece of poetry!Loved the lines, especially silence on a servant's tongue.,,wonderful, lyrical...
keep it going!

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