Though it is Written

Though it is Written 

that grace comes only by the way
of a primordial breath,
you know it to be no less
manifest for its taking of alternate routes,
as surely it finds you by the grasping-
of-an-implement way;

by the miraculous-
proximity-of-your-notebook-
with-Munch’s-iconic-Scream-
embossed-in-gold-on-the-cover-
to-your-waiting-for-this-morning’s-
nine-grained-slice-to-toast way;

as well as the letting-
your-hand-part-the-pages-
with-a-wake-of-coffee-stains-
because-you-opt-today-
to-imbibe-your-reflux-inducing-libation-
over-not-doing-so’s-throbbing-promise-
of-a-4:00-pm-migraine way;

not to mention the way
you habitually open
the blinds to another barely-lit dawn,
that grants you a glimpse of a Northern Flicker
scrabbling for purchase on the finch feeder
in a flapping blaze of belly, feathers,
& beaked seeds flung in ceremonious
presumption of some nearby female’s interest;

or the way you finally steal a breath—

which you need to steal
before your face re-stones itself
in the memory of those children
who were murdered
in yesterday’s mass shooting
in a Texas church,

for how else can you still hope?—

which delivers you to the way
your twelve-year-old Red Heeler
recruits what measure of her
brown-eyed vigilance she can muster
to shepherd this whole
bed-headed-faux-cheetah-printed-
heartsick-kitchen-calamity of you
past the counter-top-mounds of clutter,
through the ice age shadow
of your perdition,

& back to your beginning

when you were god,

& you were the word with god,

& you were the way.

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

“Though it is Written” first appeared (in slightly different form) in The Winnow Magazine in November 2019. When I first wrote this piece, I couldn’t imagine a more agonizing circumstance than that which had brought about the particular tragedy weighing so heavily on me at the time. Then came the year 2020. Though I haven’t yet processed some of the things we’ve collectively experienced and emerged from (with varying degrees of scarring) enough to approach them poetically, what I do know is that the way I once devised for myself to keep finding hope still applies. 

Happy New Year 2021, my friends. I wish you all the ways that guide you in the year ahead to soul-sustaining beauty, light, and love.

 

4 thoughts on “Though it is Written

  1. Your flicker depiction has me itching to go birding (again!) – we don’t get these in the yard, but I have been blessed with watching their antics. And flinging seeds in ceremonious presumption rings true of our times as we shift into 2021.
    Thank you for flinging this poem my direction!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think birding will likely be my saving grace if/when the pandemic runs its course and we can go in public again — I’ve become something of a recluse. I’ll follow the birds. Maybe Bob and I will go on a birding honeymoon…
      Here’s to things looking up and outward in 2021!

      Liked by 1 person

      • We go birding in remote places – just us and the birds mostly – always with our masks just-in-case – looking outward at 2021 from current limited view is a bit like sitting in a bird blind waiting to see what zooms or flutters into view and what sort of “flinging” antics pursue. (Guessing political slinging/flinging will vary but not vanish any time soon.)

        Liked by 1 person

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