It hurts to care, and the painful
grief-swell under foot comes
heavy up like a fist in the arch of my bones.
I would like to stop here.
I see a seat in the shade of a white umbrella.
What good does my foot do anyway?
Can it consecrate the stone and the mud?
Do they not rather cut and dirty me?
I have wrestled with the bulging and shifting earth
too long; not made for clutching little stones
but reaching, stretching to the Son on high,
I am ready to call it a farce and drink
tea from small cups and let Hell confound itself.
I know. I hear you calling. You know
I hear you, though I am bent
and dark-eyed, shut-eyed, head low
to the red dust. Say to me, My child,
and I will sing to you, skipping to race.
Teach me not to call myself too young,
and I will walk on brittle knees this brittle way.
Call me true names and, Lord, lift up my head.
I want to level this ground with strong arms,
sound joints, clear eyes, an invincible
tree on which is nailed a broken man.