Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Poem: Night Without Peace

In the unforgiving light of this morning,
Unwilling to open my eyes,
Unable to face myself and the world
And you,
I cower and cringe in bed.

I look back at what we said and did last night
A night of resentment, simmering anger,
Recriminations and vengeful thoughts,
Lashing out with clever, witty, cruel remarks…

And when the guilt grew intolerable, I lashed out in animal fury.

A restless night of tossing and turning, and wishing
The bitter conversation had not happened at all,
Wishing we could somehow wipe the slate clean
And re-establish a peace where neither of us
Would feel defeated or rubbished
Or guilty.

A night of wishing for warmth and love and forgiveness,
And also wishing to strike a blow that brought you to your knees in pain…

Wishing to wipe your tears, wishing you would wipe mine…

I ponder: What part was your fault, and what must I own up?
Should I have said what I said?
Should I have said it all with the viciousness that I did?

And yet, given what you said and did in the beginning,
How could I not have?
You gave the first cause. You started it all…

Or did you?
What about those things I said earlier?
Were they spoken cleanly, without malice?
Were they not words of
Callous indifference?

Peace prevails today…
An uneasy peace, a wounded peace.
There is pain and numbness in the air.

We shall heal. Of course we shall,
Because this was only one of the many, many
Nights without peace in our life together.

We heal and go forward together
Hand in hand, fingers interlocked.
We forgive each other too.
Of course we do… Don’t we always?

In a few months, I shall forget this night as though it never happened.
The bitter words — yours and mine — are already faded and fuzzy.
I forget easily.

But I regret having this gift because you do not have it.
Though you forgive me, you will remember.
The aftertaste of this night will linger.

I feel sorry… sorry for us both. I’m sorry, in fact, for all of us.
We love, but we are condemned to hurt each other…
And blinded by our pain and guilt, go in search of ourselves.
Postscript: Something that Bertrand Russel wrote describes the way I think and feel: "Three passions have governed my life: The longings for love, the search for knowledge, And unbearable pity for the suffering of [humankind]. Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness. In the union of love I have seen In a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision Of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined. With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of [people]. I have wished to know why the stars shine. Love and knowledge led upwards to the heavens, But always pity brought me back to earth; Cries of pain reverberated in my heart Of children in famine, of victims tortured And of old people left helpless. I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, And I too suffer. This has been my life; I found it worth living."

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