“Twelve Lakes” – 2014 in Review

northwestontariomaps.ca
Here twelve lakes lie side by side
all shapes – deep and narrow, flat
and wide.
Clear reflections broken by
cauliflower clouds, heavy with
my hopes and rain.
Where shall I rest them, where
descend? I raise
my hands to end the cruel hell
of sun-fire blazing, as if hope
were cheap and bright.
These feathers, wisps, my substance,
all conceal the candid strokes;
now I descend.
The petals of this darkness now unfold
as I, the passenger inside my soul,
discover me. We visit
– all my selves and I –
last January’s lake, its surface wild.
So alien a place and time it seems,
its facets, crests, I last glimpsed
in my dreams.
Lake February dry and barely here;
Lake March abloom and bursting lovely,
clear – as if,
as if eternity its depths; its foreigner
my fear. And then
a river-flood for April and for May,
a frothy loud crescendo hailing change:
Over June’s lake there’s a storm,
July is windy; August bright,
its waters deep in blues, but dear, familiar.
(And to think that then I thought
I knew the weight of depth.)
There’s Lake September now; it’s green and good,
but ripples into shards as I approach – and is
a lake of searing fire! That mirage
dissolved. The smoke and sulfur choke
and laugh: I dared believe that there was life
upon my path!
Then, Lake October, drowned in ice, and Lake November
sheathed in fog – I don’t remember
what I felt; I only think that I was there.
Now Lake December, dark and still; perhaps
a mere trick of the light. I thought
I glimpsed something – I’m still
unsure if it was life, if it
was truly seen by sight.
And now – at last – a rainfall, bleeding
healer’s tears. A brief relief,
my segue, to capture what was lost;
a pause, a breath, a thought, a song,
and then, the fiercest feat of all –
to go on.

Written December 2014, Emma Dumitra.
Image from northwestontariomaps.ca. 

“Conversation”

nicolerookbuttercups

Me-to-God:

Where shall I look for reassurance of your love?
Every cloud in the sky is of your design;
the moon and stars flew hither on your breath,
the sun a molecule of fire from your throne –
yet none of them bear a fingerprint.
Not one of them is marked by bumps and grooves
and curls of tender caress.
The sun and the angels both are pure light;
the heavenly beings and bodies all glow,
but none of them are of dust and of air,
none of them are of earthy, gritty stuff –
of breath, blood and sweat – You care
for us, the dusty, weather-worn and small,
not glorious, but placed in rank near all
the wonders, angels, gods of life and light;
You’ve crowned us with your glory in your sight.

God-to-Me:

I will not promise you an easy life,
I will not shield you from all pain,
but woe to those who delight
in your suffering.
Their gleaming joy I will swiftly trample;
with a mighty roar I will storm their boasts.
My face is ever turned toward you –
tear for tear, I match your weeping.
I will be angry, fiercely angry
at the joy of your oppressors,
for how dare they pierce your heart
and laugh with glee!
Though I have yet allowed your trials
it is crucifixion to me;
you are my loved one, loved so dearly,
and I promise: you will be free.

The Inspiration:
Psalm 7:6-8 – “Arise, O Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around you. Rule over them from on high; let the Lord judge the peoples. Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High.”
Psalm 8:3-5 – “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place; what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”

Written Oct. 2014, Emma Dumitra.
Photo credit: Nicole Rook. 

“In Doubt of the Pursuit”

happiness

I’ve been thinking about the meanings of happiness and sadness versus joy and sorrow.

For starters, applying the word “happiness” to myself like I have this week feels new and strange and almost dangerous. Is it wise to say that good things make me happy? After all, I live in a world where the pursuit of happiness is both an idol and an inalienable right which leads to obsession, selfishness, and meaninglessness.

I feel like Qoheleth, thinking about the futility of it all. Is happiness the fleeting feeling and joy the thing that lasts? Can we have both and live as fulfilled human beings or must we choose one over the other?

Your brow is broken with the heavy weight of sorrow that you bear.

In this culture we are taught that happiness is the ultimate goal and the only good emotion. The good feeling. The rush. The dissociation from anything slow, tedious, dirty or unpleasant. Some people embrace happiness full-on and then struggle for the rest of their existence to retain their immature grip on it; the notion of outgrowing the initial spark is absurd to them. Others live in a monotonous haze – happiness gets only a side-hug, and so does everything else because the fear of loss is greater than the will to thrive.

I don’t want to be like that.

But happiness is just a single note in the song of life, and we are forgetting the value of all the other notes. I want to embrace every season of my song with equal fullness because it makes sense to me that true meaning is found in a whole, not its fragmented parts. It’s why I don’t lick the icing off the cake anymore.

Your brow is broken; in my pursuits your pain I cannot share.

If happiness were everywhere, life would truly be meaningless.
If happiness is everything, then we forget joy and peace and compassion and perseverance; love, self-control, sacrifice, honour, mercy, justice and faith.
If happiness is everything, then life is shallow: we cannot grow from pain, nor create beauty in suffering because pain and suffering become the ultimate evil – not the results of it. Suddenly, the consequences of evil are re-dubbed “evil” and evil is renamed “good”.

It’s easy then to demonize happiness. But happiness is good, and that is important to remember too! Rather, it is the pursuit of happiness at the expense of other things that leads to all kinds of evil. Obsession. Selfishness. Meaninglessness.

I want to live in the tension, fully present in every season of life. I don’t want to grow miserable with age because of health issues or because of the loss of the happiness that I am blessed with now.

Maybe it’s important to remember that no matter what the American constitution says, happiness is not a right; it is a blessing. A gift. And the pursuit of it is not our goal. We cannot earn a gift – earning a gift is completely beside the point! The pursuit of happiness is like the love of money. Both happiness and money can be good things – unless we abuse them. And to love something that never deserved our trust or affection – and to pursue something that was only meant to be received – that can generate enough evil to destroy lives. It is destroying lives.

Your brow is broken for my wounds –
your hands are open for my scars.
You bear the brunt of every sorrow I deny and then discard.

I don’t want to be happy forever; I want to live a full and meaningful life. There is a big difference!

Written March 2014, Emma Dumitra.
Image from http://www.moreurope.com. 

[I Shall Speak the Wind]

celsias

I shall speak the wind that moves you;
I relent with every breath
the things that bind you to my vision —
all for love. What I have said
I shall release in expiration,
simply pray — and nothing else
till you shall rise to the occasion,
speak the wind in choices blown.
But whence the Rustler’s source is hidden,
unto each of us — unknown.

Written April 2013, Emma Dumitra.
Image from http://www.celsias.com.

“Watcher’s Plea”

footageshutterstockcomwesterkerk

Stand guard, O Sentinel,
til this here comes to pass,
though wither may the flowers
and wither may the grass.

Stay rooted, O Sentinel,
upon this hallowed ground,
though light may lose its luster
and song may lose its sound.

Hold fast, O Sentinel,
unto the silver thread,
though joy fall into slumber
and hope go lie in bed.

Be strong, O Sentinel,
until ye hear the gong
that brings light to the darkness
and justice to the wronged.

Written July 2011, Emma Dumitra.
Image from footage.shutterstock.com of Westerkerk, Netherlands.