I have at times lived within the deliberate confines
of walls carefully constructed
to provide some layers of insulation
between me and the things and people
I thought might be a bit too much to handle.
Sometimes burning the candle in the middle,
I faced the riddles of both ends smoking
and the blackened wick running too thin
at the times I most needed some thick light
to blind me into understanding.
I have found the darkness cold and callused,
indifference sometimes feels like malice
and whatever keeps out the heat
also keeps the ice from melting
and warmth seems prelude to enlightenment.
I came back out of that aching emptiness,
willing to live and to be alive,
willing to give and forgive and be forgiven,
willing to run the risk of love offered
though seldom held sacred.
I have gained a few new scars,
and sung off-key on more than a few bars
of some fine and ancient melody
whose lyrics rise within every heart
that seeks the Light.
But I have kept the tune within me,
fretted the notes that run along the length
of a hand-carved neck set into the body,
a pleasing resonation of silver strings,
knowing that singing opens the heart
and sets the spirit free.
His music has kept me alive,
kept me going when my own going seemed gone,
moved me along at times beyond my own footsteps.
I am held by a hand stronger than my own,
a hand both gentle and firm.