I’ll Lay a Feather: A Poem
The world is heavy with hurt,
Floods in Zimbabwe
Tornadoes in Kansas
Terrorists in Christchurch and Baghdad.
Then there’s cancer and bills
And heartbreak and lonely
in the circle of humans
who people my soul.
The world is adazzle with all manner of goodness
Mothers who fight for their autistic children
And brave mama ducks and fierce mama bears
And dads who coach soccer and softball.
People who put out suet for blue jays
And write checks to save children and redwoods.
Composers whose tunes take us half way to heaven
And artists with pigment and water
Painting breath-catching skies on their paper.
I study the scales this morning,
the balance of mercy and misery,
in one pan beauty and goodness
in the other ugly and mean.
I fret, impatient with God and the powers.
Why can’t they get it together?
When will they get it all right?
Why does the balance keep hovering
Teetering, unsteady, unsure?
All that I have is a feather
Barely any weight at all.
What I want is a lead piece of goodness
A chunk that will settle the contest
A gold bar to drop on the pan of delight
But all that I’ve got is a feather.
A minute for paying attention
To linger and hear what she’s saying
A chance to say no to their worry
A chance to say yes to their hunger.
A slight spark of lovely
A mere taste of honey
A whiff of perfume for the world.
A feather in my hand for the laying.
John McLarty is senior pastor at Green Lake Church in Seattle and host of Talking Rocks Geology Tours, camping trips in the American Southwest.