LISTEN

Listen.

What?

I hear…

What?

I hear my heart

beat,

My breath,

My thoughts:

Did I turn off the oven? Did I turn on the drier?
Will we get through the winter? Is there wood for the fire?
It feels good to be quiet. I think church is a bore.
Last night’s game was a riot. I think I should buy it.
Oh, when will Mommy come home, come home from the store?

The horses need feeding. The car needs an oil change.
I can’t find the reading… Matthew, Mark, Luke…
John is acting so strange these days.
Chapter Four…
It must be a phase.
Verse Eleven through Twenty…
Oh, when did Clara get home from the dance?
Oh, why did Tommy go off to France?
Oh, when will Sara come home from the shore?
When will Johnny come home from the war?

What is this fighting, this conflict, this division for?
Why can’t we stop… and listen.

What?

I hear…
My voice, her voice, his voice, your voice, Our voices,
Singing hymns of praise and purpose,
Praying softly for salvation,
Bringing words of hope and comfort, saying,
Welcome!

Welcome to our congregation.
Please join us for coffee in Fellowship Hall.

We will join ourselves in one
together in one plantation.

If you’d like more information
On our mission, music, education
We’re happy to help you, just give us a call.

We will be helpful to each other
according to every man’s abilities
and needs.

Our doors are open, open to all.
We will listen… listen…

What?

We hear…

What?

Our hearts beat, our breath,
Our voices, our lives, our world.

We hear sirens going off,
Throwing off the choir’s concentration,
Telling us of fires, of cars crashing, of slashing knives.
Reminding us how fragile are our lives.

We hear children laughing and gardeners mowing,
Traffic slowing, and stopping, and turning,
Children learning and shouts of greeting,
Rain beating, and hearts aching.

We hear waves breaking on sandy shores,
Leaving wakes like streaks of frost;
Doors slamming, and years colliding,
And children running, hiding and lost.

We hear fathers crying and mothers coping;
Lovers lying, forgiving and hoping;
Forests, rivers, customs dying
As cities grow and cultures clash;
The earth sighing, her rhythms slowing,
Weighed down by people, by progress, by trash.

We hear the prayers, the hymns, the chants;
The dance to rhythms known by all;
The call that speeds through space and time,
Through rhyme and psalm and myth and creed,
Through beams from saints and satellites;

The song that sounds as the warrior fights,
As the mourner weeps and the martyr screams,
As God commands and Christ forgives,
As Allah lives, and Vishnu sleeps and dreams.

We hear the sacred songs of all the earth,
The drums, guitars and gongs,
The bell that tolls in pedal point
To love and death and birth;

We hear a voice that echoes off the sun,
A voice that sings in subtle harmony with stars,
The voice, the guide, the one from far outside infinity
And deep within.

The silence of a reverent heart is broken.
A single word is spoken,
And we listen…

listen…

listen.

© 1993 Deborah Fischer Teason