Saturday, January 5, 2008

Stigmata X

Stigmata X
by Terry Anderson
No man can ever start anew completely;
he's everything he's done
or said or failed to do.
Each bit is added on,
Altering the whole,
But covering, not replacing
what has gone before.
A piece of unfired clay,
he bears the marks
and scars of all his years.
Not just clay, though
sculptor, too;
he helps to mold himself:
Object, artist, audience.
Sometimes, though, larger hands --
destiny, fate, karma, God --
take firmly hold and,
wielding fierce events,
risk fracture to hack
and carve away some
awkward, ugly bits.
The final work cannot be seen
until it's fired, and all fires cold.

Paul knew: suffering and pain
are the truest ways,
the only ways for some of us,
to draw out that within
which answers to
the purpose of it all.

Terry Anderson was a journalist taken hostage in Beirut in the 1980's. After his release he wrote an insightful and powerful book called Den of Lions: A Startling Memoir of Survival and Triumph. It is an engrossing account of one's man's personal first hand experience in hell, with incredible self-disclosure. At various places in the account Anderson's poems have been interspersed. This one made an especially meaningful connection with me when I read it a few years back, and I share it with you hear.

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