Long ago, when people could gather together, in a friendly neighborhood place that could have doubled for “Cheers,” I wrote this poem. The place is closed now, the friends scattered, and all creation waits with eager longing.
It is a difficult balance this side of heaven
so difficult some saints have said it is impossible
to stand so close to the abyss and yet not fall.
In that dim room we spoke,
laughed, passed the drinks, told stories,
broke open life, and put it back together.
Some had traveled long together, others came new to the table,
but it didn’t matter –
they broke bread, shared popcorn,
passed the peace as they passed the popcorn,
reached out across the smoky darkness
toward each others’ light.
For one short moment we forgot clocks, lists, assessments,
original sin and broken trusts
and the fact that somebody had to drive home
(he was drinking water, but he laughed and passed the popcorn.)
So many nights like that end in dark places
That perhaps you will not believe me
that this one was innocent, eucharistic,
like the coming of the kingdom.
It hangs sweet in my memory.
I have to believe there was in it,
tiny, but well-formed,
recaptured from immense darkness
a seed of new creation.