Saturday, September 28, 2013

Faith in marriage

Here are a couple of reflections re-discovered, written from a winter in mid-life, when my best beloved and I were each discovering and growing into a different sense of identity and vocation through our lives outside the sanctuary of the home. The still hold good, I'm grateful to say, a quarter of a century later.

Romantic intimacy and dependence in tension with the need for freedom are intermingled with the challenges of keeping faith with God and each other.

Autumn that year meant disentanglement
from all that had succoured my youth
turning the face away from where
dreams and visions had been planted in my heart,
where poetry first stirred in my soul
and the universe had opened its secrets
to my bewildered gaze.

It was time to journey, but not by hearsay
time to navigate with eyes of my own
heart pounding with inexperience.

As the loosening of ties began
and the prospect of the voyage at hand
unfolded with vigour day by day,
I did not seek a singular companion
delighting in laughter, music and company
always ready to share in new discoveries
light and landmarks.

But you were there
and unsuspected intimacy grew between us.
Who would have thought that we should linger
when the last coffee cup was drained-
our worlds so far apart?

I was blind to your faults and stumbled over them,
as you did over mine.
But the light from your eyes, as clear as your name
kindled a longing that melted my heart's resistance,
and drew me through the hurt, to journey at your side.

Where then was the decision made
that forged us into one flesh,
and made us unlikely companions?
Sometimes together,sometimes far ahead or behind,
we have come this road-
somehow continuing to find each other
despite the disappointments and betrayals,
returning amazed to the mystery that binds us.

Many seasons have passed,and we are no longer alone.
In moments of confusion I seem to lose you in the crowd
of competing affections which fill our world,
and the map which have made together
becomes a jumble of unintelligible signs,
under darkening skies.

I have learned how to stand alone in the twilight
my heart still poorly illumined by grace,
trusting in darkness,as best I can,
not least your light is shining more clear
than in the first days of our meeting.

I cannot cling to you, lest we both stumble and fall,
only tread unknowing, grateful,
hoping to keep finding you, offering my love's poor recompense
for all I have received and often treasured carelessly.

J.K.K. - 3.1.87


In the long night of our companionship
I saw you together,
like a still centre in the bustle of the celebrations.
Magnetised by the light in each others eyes.

I knew then that I must let you go
if I were not to lose you.
That the path of unknowing must be trod trustfully
to find you again.

The way I remembered you once were
and the way habit knew you to be
were poles of disappointment apart.

And yet I recognised the light which drew me to you first,
even though it no longer encompassed me.

Had we dare conceive 
the heart's agony and dread that lay before
perhaps we'd have preferred to cease longing
and remain uneasy in comfortable aridity.

But no, there was no escape-
only guiding hands, invisibly present in each storm
pointing us where we might not go lest courage fail us,
taking us wounded yet more whole
where the path goes toward the source of the light.

J.K.K. - 4.1.87

Winter- painfully cold, 
bare ground windswept
broken dead branches
morass of trodden leaves-
frozen castaways.

Darkness lasts an age.
Each day sprints its pale way
and the moon rules.

We see each other not by daylight 
in this severest season 
of our companionship.
So many memories, hopes, feelings
now broken underfoot.

But we shall see clearer in the day 
of the returning sun. 

underground,and long before the sap
considers rising
the agonising chemistry of humus
by stealth renews the earth

making possible the greening
that is yet to come.

J.K.K. - 16.12.86