Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Songs In The Night. A Duet.






Dark earthy Haitian coffee. Reading Billy Collins. Listening to the rain on the roof sing a duet with the restless waves. Everyone else escaped to their tents and left me and Mr. Collins alone by the sea. Everyone except the wind who is rushing about frantically looking for something lost or stolen. Overturning every paper, every leaf. Shaking every would be thief of a tree for a confession. But thoughtfully now and then, still remembers to play his little part upon the chimes, hanging like strange angular grapes from a Moringa tree. Sea glass and rusty nails in a plucky pizzicato tinktanktunk rhythm. Then the crescent moon breaks through, a Cheshire cat grin. Smiling down on that Mad as a Hatter wind. 


Two lines capture me tonight. In one poem Collins, while contemplating the immanency of death, gets caught up in the minutia of his garden where "bits of leaf [are] like flakes off a fresco". In another he describes a sudden snow flurry as "krill fleeing the maw of an advancing whale". Wow. Wish those lines were mine. 


The rain stops. Only the sea still sings. In low whispers and great hushes. I am fighting back sleep. Beating it back with the cold dark dregs of tonight's last half a cup of coffee. I am contemplating my muse. I find myself absentmindedly humming a tune. Muddy Hymnal by Iron and Wine. The saddest and loveliest of lines (which too I wish were mine!). "We found you sleeping by your lover's stone/ A ream of paper and a telephone/ A broken bow/ Across a long lost violin." 


My mind wanders to a passage in Job. "Men cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful. But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night." 


To be honest, I love that scripture dearly, though I know it seems such small consolation to someone subjugated and abused by the wicked it does still gives me comfort to think of God giving us songs to sing amidst our suffering. But there is another scripture that I love even more. That in that oppression, under such great weight of sorrow, scripture promises us that "[t]he LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, AND He himself will rejoice over you with singing (too!)."


Now that's a duet.





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