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Friday, 6 January 2017

Rest here, Heart

This poem is my Tennyson at daybreak and my St. John of the Cross at nightfall...(- Gerardt Gedartus )

Rest here, Heart, in these cupped hands
that make a cradle filled with air-
only air- sweet and gentle.
O! rest here, my Heart!
Gather yourself up and sleep here,
in the bowl made by these
careful hands-
your sister and your brother,
both worn and wise.
Rest here! O, Heart! sleep a little while-
sleep just a while-
for a month or a day,
while the turmoil carries on
without you.
Feel the warmth and the safety,
where you sleep, cradled,
swaddled in safe dreams,
wrapped in chaste murmurings,
cushioned in a perfect bower of solitude.
O! sleep away the bruises, dear Heart!
let the tears slide away in your sleep;
let love's yearnings gently pulse
like a muffled clock in the night-
a quiet beat, a kind rhythm
draining away passion's purple wounds
and stains.
O! Heart, rest here,
in these two careful hands-
your brother and your sister,
both worn and wise.

(A photo taken on Refugee Day when I worked in a nursing home at Kingston, Tasmania.  Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the Ethiopian boy who came to help us celebrate.  The other hands are mine.  We painted everybody's nails rainbow-coloured. - Philomena van Rijswijk)


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