Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: 2016 Presidential Election

A Prayer of Lament 2

I wrote the poem below just after the 2016 Presidential Election. It still resonates as a lament about the outcome of the election. It’s also about today.

It’s easy to point to Mr. Trump as the cause of our current troubles. Yet Mr. Trump didn’t get here alone. His supporters, wealthy or not, religious or not, played their roll by covering for him, lying for him, and making loyalty to him the sign of being a good citizen.

Mr. Trump also had help from white Christians, including those who didn’t vote for him. Their preferences have included looking the other way, acting like nothing’s wrong in the White House, raging, apathy and indifference, cozying up in order to get what they want, or holding their noses until the next election.

White Christian slave holders and non-slave holders enabled white supremacy from the beginning of our nation. Worse, they often did this by misappropriating or ignoring Scripture.

It’s easy to look the other way, blame others, and live our privileged lives in a giant fairy tale that still passes for “American History.” Mr. Trump is a product of this history. He didn’t, however, make it happen.

So here’s the lament again, this time for all of us. Especially for white citizens in the USA who claim to follow Jesus.

We’ve lost our way —
or never found it

Bitter bargains struck
Trust betrayed
Loyalties unexamined
Bodies scorned
Contempt exalted
Rage rewarded
Fear ignited
Self promoted

Spoils of a winning war

Good Shepherd, have mercy on us all.
Amen

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 30 July 2020
Image found at parkhillsrca.org

finding my way home

Through hazy unknowns
life tumbles, turns
I wake far from home
not knowing how or who
I’m to be

I search for long-gone milestones
landmarks north stars
The sky an empty void
of echoing questions
no answers
no explanations
no solace

I wander between knowing what I
think I know and fearing this
could be true
Truth so fragile
so easily pierced by life’s urgent
need for me to be
someone I am not

Life itself a great puzzlement of
interlocking pieces
leading somewhere
or nowhere
I’m never quite sure
A little light
a little meaning
a little distance
from the void of not knowing

Will this come round right?
Every book every scrap of history
every letter every pain
every sorrow every shame
every secret
wells up in me
competing for attention
Pick me!
I hold the key to golden answers
Can you help me find my way home?

I first published this poem on 30 July 2015. Today, two years later, it still rings true. Perhaps more so, given the last USA presidential election and all that happened before and since then.

I could smile and say God will work it all out, but that feels like abdication. A denial of my shared responsibility as a human being and as a citizen.

All promises to the contrary, my world was never safe or secure. Today I know that what passed back then for ‘safe and secure’ was, in fact, a mirage. Sometimes deliberate; sometimes the product of years of denial. Or false hope that saying something often enough would make it real.

Fake news is fake news. Fake history is fake history. Fake solutions are tomorrow’s problems passed on to the next generation.

Today we’re reaping a whirlwind that’s been in the making for centuries. No magic key will solve all our dilemmas. Still, I’m going to keep picking at the lock—one person at a time, one conversation at a time, one day at a time.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 8 August 2017
Image found at gizmag.com

Teach us to number our days

teach-us-to-number-our-days

One year ago I celebrated a birthday. Today I’m celebrating birthday #73, yet it feels as though decades have passed since 20 November 2015.

I’m writing this on Saturday evening. A cold front is moving in, and a strong, cold gusty wind is already whirling around in the dark. Read the rest of this entry »

Ostentatious Leaders

Ostentatious Leaders
preen before Desperate Adoring Citizens
clothing each other in superlatives
one flimsy piece at a time.

Has it become impolitic to tell the truth?
Or is it fear?

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 November 2016
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Ostentatious

I’m ceded — I’ve stopped being Theirs —

harvest-moon-sept-2016

Here’s another beauty from Emily Dickinson. I’m drawn to it not simply because I sometimes call myself Queen Elouise, but because it captures so well the difference between belonging to Them and belonging to Grace. It also suggests what we need right now in this world of stunning beauty, visible misery and stunning injustice. My comments follow.

I’m ceded – I’ve stopped being Theirs –
The name They dropped upon my face
With water, in the country church
Is finished using, now,
And They can put it with my Dolls,
My childhood, and the string of spools,
I’ve finished threading – too –

Baptized, before, without the choice,
But this time, consciously, of Grace –
Unto supremest name –
Called to my Full – The Crescent dropped –
Existence’s whole Arc, filled up,
With one small Diadem.

My second Rank – too small the first –
Crowned – Crowing – on my Father’s breast –
A half unconscious Queen –
But this time – Adequate – Erect,
With Will to choose, or to reject,
And I choose, just a Crown –

c. 1862

Emily Dickinson Poems, Edited by Brenda Hillman
Shambhala Pocket Classics, Shambhala 1995

Emily’s poem reminds me of Read the rest of this entry »

I felt a Cleaving in my Mind —

chaos-in-markets-britain

Here’s a timely poem from Emily Dickinson. She captures what it’s like to be at loose ends. Unable to think straight, sort out feelings, or fit oneself into the new reality. My personal comments follow.

I felt a Cleaving in my Mind –
As if my Brain had split –
I tried to match it – Seam by Seam –
But could not make them fit.

The thought behind, I strove to join
Unto the thought before –
But Sequence raveled out of Sound
Like Balls – upon a Floor.

c. 1864

Emily Dickinson Poems, Edited by Brenda Hillman
Shambhala Pocket Classics, Shambhala 1995

Things undone aren’t easily put back together. Especially when accompanied by Read the rest of this entry »

A Prayer of Lament

We’ve lost our way –
Or never found it 

Bitter bargains struck
Trust betrayed

Loyalties unexamined
Bodies scorned
Contempt exalted
Rage rewarded
Fear ignited
Self promoted 

Spoils of a winning war 

Good Shepherd, have mercy on us all.

Amen

***

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 November 2016

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