Lost … ?
Preamble: The ancient Hebrew Songs of Lament often had some kind of turning point in them. But it wasn’t always early in the piece. It’s funny how so many in today’s society — at least of those I connect with — have such great difficulty when someone sings a song of lament. They don’t realise that their own vessel is as frail as the one disassembled in the waters around them. They think that person weak willed or defeatist in attitude. “Put a smile on your face!” they say. “Get it together! Be strong. Work harder. Work longer!” You are oh, so mistaken. People want the turning point to be much earlier than it is; or can be.
Neither do they see that the one who sings the song of lament, swimming so desperately in the waters below, is still swimming. Still alive. Still fighting. Perhaps there is more strength in the one who sings of their woe until it becomes something else. Perhaps they have many more lessons than you can tell as an external observer. Perhaps not. One day, we will all experience frailty. Who will listen to our lament then?
For a lament is not a dirge. It’s not a digging of a grave and a declaration of failure or weakness or lack of being a warrior. Nor is it a declaration that others will pay or that you will win or that you’re tougher than all that. Apparently you’re not. That’s why you’re in the water — you couldn’t hold your ship together just by having the right attitude.
No, rather, a lament is the most humble, real and hopeful thing you can ever be honoured to witness. It is a person having the courage to say what they see in their own life; the detritus of who they are and of what’s happening around them. To be honest about what is. To not deny themselves of their own reality, even when everyone around them tells them they should.
A song of lament is my sword point thrust into the chest of my opponent, make no mistake. It is that supreme moment of clarity when my creative essence spills out into all of our worlds. And creativity is, in my estimation, the essence of human emotional truth.
We seem … lost, today,
Adrift like splintered timber,
hulls of mighty war-beasts
whose doom was less
than they deserve
than we had hoped for.
Bereft in the thin veil
the soulless wonder of
our own wayward songs,
singers who lament,
lamenters who mourn.
In the gentle swells of this life,
like the early moments of wavedom
Looking askance at the sinewed
Hopes of our companions.
Bopping along like so many pieces of
We are the flotsam and jetsam.
Discarded to avoid something else’s destruction
We draw long of our briny cup
And look heavily into the depths below.
That they who ride beside us
in their once-mighty vessels, patched up with paint,
slopped together with tar,
tell us it is not as bad
Not so bad as all that
and all this
But they don’t know.
They’ve not been discarded jetsamly
And so become the flotsam of their own bewildered
Which way is North, good Sir?
For I am adrift at sea and lost.
I spin and circle and dive.
I’m sorry, good Sir? You say it’s that way?
Just another day to land, you say?
Ah, well, all is as it is
and here I am.
And I notice
that there you are, too.
Swim we shall, then,
swim onwards, ever onwards,
The height of our groping for life
and the end of our gurgling push
shall find its own tumultuous reprise
in the fickle shades of Summer.
Originally published at soulrift.weebly.com.