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Ahead and Around

Twice a month, I meet online with a few other folks and we read poetry, journal and share how God might be speaking to us through the poetic words of others. For our time together, I create a powerpoint and always hope to find and choose the right photographs.

This week we read Ahead and Around by Laura Riding Jackson (see below). John Wade’s recent photos from Scotland proved to be an excellent visual for our poetry study. Notice in these pictures the vast gaps that lie in-between.

Looking at the first image, imagine if the left side of the land mass just one day decided to separate from the other side. The result would be futile. Think about these two sides of land trying with all their might to pull themselves apart. The earth might shake and quake a bit. For sure this rumble would tumble the afternoon tea from the table – braking long, passed-down, sipped-lipped dainty china tea cups that held generations of stories. Tears of loss and mourning would spring from the eyes of the host, in the losing of the precious pieces – so many lips that slurped and drank and chatted over scones. Broken into pieces would be the hope of serving more sweet ones who loved, liked and even licked sugar off fingers, fattened full on an afternoon of two-by-two happy conversation.

But, after all that shaking, all that willing and all that trying… the land would still be connected. Bound together in an unbreakable way. The nature of all things inseparably joined. The nature of the lands we live in is history, mystery, hope, promise, life-sustaining, grounding, giving, living and even dying.

This past week’s selection proved to be a fitting challenge for both my internal and external worlds.

With whom or what are you inseparably connected?

What is the personal cost to “pride along two paths” only to reach the same beginning and end?

Ahead and Around by Laura Riding Jackson

Ahead and Around
Met, quarreled, quilled the bird of peace,
Untidied a pleasant plane.
Ahead accused Around of complete deceit,
Around accused Ahead of being discontented.
Neither listened to each.
Either lined on,
Making round straight and straight round,
Permitting nothing in-between,
Licked space clean,
Fattened unhappily and flew
Along the geometrical faith of two-and-two,
Hated apart; and far and far
Each wanderer
Hoped toward a spiritually reconnoitered heaven.

“For,” cried sinuous Around,
“More and less than I, am I,
Nature of all things, all things the nature of me.”
Ahead echoed the cry.
Sped toward its own eternity

Of the sweet end before the bitter beyond, beyond.
And both were brave and both were strong,
And the ways of both were like and long,
And adventured freely in fettered song:
One that circled as it sang,
One that longitudinally rang.

The spite prospered. The spite stopped.
Both earned the same end differently,
Prided along two different paths,
Reached the same humility
Of an old-trodden start.
Birth is the beginning where all part.
Death is the beginning where they meet.

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