When I think

When I think of all these things,

the things I must think about, I only turn cold and still.

This is not a stillness of peace or rest; it is instead a stillness in which

noise and chaos, disharmony and terror, are contained for the moment — a pause,

a reluctance to go on, a cowardly comfort in waiting, in being still.

Still, like the water in the lake, which flows not like the river.

When I think of these things, I try to pull them down from the clouds where they call out to me.

But my feet stay nailed to the ground, and my arms grow tired when I reach.

Some are dreams, who change their shape, and wish not to be defined.

Some are regrets, who simmer and ferment, and for redemption they cry.

Some sing of love and romance, as they bounce across the sky

But they are weak and afraid, uncertain, they fade and silently die.

Some are soft cries for those whose heads need a place to rest,

whose naked bodies need warmth and dignity.

But they curse back at me, in my indifference and apathy,

in my waiting for their help to be.

Some are questions and ridicule, sinking low to my deepest convictions,

where they shake my founded footings.

They ask me:

“Your God, where is He?”

And how I wish I could answer, for things one cannot see.

Some speak of time, which fulfilled hopes that weren’t mine,

which served desires of another that do not define


No, I speak not of the service which we all owe to one another,

we must always empty who we are, and fill the emptiness of our brother.

I speak of the thoughts which pull you from end to end, who tell you to satisfy a friend,

and what you think he wants for you.

And so when my arms fall down,

and those clouds become heavy, condensed, and unanswered,

they begin to fall from their great heights.

They wash me clean of hope, joy and belief.

They blind me, soak me, and fill me with grief.

But when I think of these things,

the things I must think about,

I am glad, and with a smile I show:

That even though I turn cold as stone,

I have a mind, a heart, a will to call my own.

June 2018, Durban, South Africa