Same Poem, Two Forms- from 2004

A Place Beyond (in free verse)

 I know that you and I walk, live, move,
and have our being
in the divine.
It is how I live.
But there are those moments that
liturgy, ritual, tradition,
and all else that is familiar.
Those places where we are

kissed by God

and where we hear God saying (perhaps)
“Thank you.”

They are places where, like Peter
we are invited to the mountaintop;
where, like John,
the fullness of our encounter
is drawn from us in eloquence
and perfect understanding
and where, for awhile,
fear is gone and we are safe,
and where, for blessed minutes,
hope is fully realized.

We cannot go to those places;
we can only be in them
as they occur.

This one: A back-district, government-built
home in South Dakota.
The yard is littered with
beer cans and old cars
and scraps of lives.
It is snowing now.
Inside, brothers, four of them,
Gather ‘round their grandfather’s drum
and an ancient War Song fills
the room, and the prairie beyond it,
is turning white now, and foreboding.
The youngest brother, Elijah,
tips back his head
as the ancestors come and
stand around the warrior
he might have been;
which he is now.
Outside, quieter still,
the prairie waits for the hoof beats
it knows are about to begin.

And this one: Somewhere in the Alsace,
between LeMaster and Le Chambon,
I stop the car because I am blinded by
van Gogh’s vision:
a volcanic hillside is filled with rows
of lavender, sunflowers, and grapevines,
from bottom to top and beyond
into the sky itself
and I hear the perfect symphony
of silent celebrating chords
in Continuing Creation.

And another: An old man,
alone in a cell for three years-
a murderer, a snitch-
unredeemable, unforgivable, forgotten
by the One who
knitted him together
in his mother’s womb.
I offer him the body of that One.
And his blood.

Black, gnarled, scarred, bony,
old man hands are extended
through steel bars worn silver
by the man’s standing behind them,
waiting, perhaps, for this day.
He accepts them.
And, behold, all things are made new.

Times like these..
people and places like these..
give shape to my being.
I cannot plan them, they are not mine.
I cannot duplicate them, they are Mystery.
I can only accept them, be in them, and
be ready.

David Weber 2004

Author’s Comments:
“This was a personal experiment in free verse. I wrote the following metered and rhymed version first. It is a Common Melody- it can be sung to the tune of Amazing Grace, or House of the Rising Sun, or even the theme from Gilligan’s Island!

A Place Beyond (the same poem from above, now rhymed and metered)

Somewhere beyond the practiced dance,
Beyond the same sung songs,
Past holy paths and priest-led chants,
Is where my soul belongs.
I’ve been there; it’s a place I know,
beyond my hope and fear.
It’s not a place I plan to go,
It’s never there, just here.
A clapboard shack high on a hill
A drum beat fills the room.
A warrior’s born, the earth is still
in tribute to God’s womb.
A hillside yellow, red, and green
In rows shaped like the sky
The painter speaks in sounds between
Earth’s groan and heaven’s sigh.
A cup is passed, a loaf is shared
“Remember me,” he said.
Hands reach through bars, a heart is bared,
and tears of grace are shed.
Somewhere beyond the practiced dance,
Beyond the same sung songs,
Past holy paths and priest-led chants,
Is where my soul belongs.

David B.Weber 2004

One thought on “Same Poem, Two Forms- from 2004

  1. I am taken in by both versions and absolutely thankful for this reminder of our daily connection to the divine. I will say though the multicultural journery of the first one is my favorite, thank you David

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