Our days are longer than glass, longer than
Stone, longer than light and air, longer than
The waters of this softly flowing river that will
Pass, rise, fall, and pass again while we speak
These words, sing these words. Our days are
Longer than prayer or scholarship, than ambition
Or boasting or riot or sleeping or waking or food
Or kisses or the bright exalting summer of youth.
They are longer than sorrow or rejoicing or love
Or bones turned to powder. Our steps trace and
Retrace the paths of echoing generations, and
We are indistinguishable among them. For a
Thousand years has the black-haired girl sat in
Choir and stared black-eyed, and for a thousand
More will she sit and stare. We will speak these
Words, sing these words. For centuries the man
Has sat dry in his faith, and for centuries more
Will he sit. We will speak these words, sing these
Words. The dry man will find his faith and the
Black-eyed girl will look up. We have no need
For rushing. With our words and our singing
We make this glass and this stone the great
Still center of creation. The long grass moves
From the breath of our words. The trailing
Willows sway from the breath of our singing.
The river flows softly while we speak and we
Sing. These words and this singing pass from
Mouth to mouth and their living is continuous.
We do not matter at all. Our broken ineluctable
Particulars are translated into these words and
This singing, and we are made whole by them.
When the windows are blank cold darkness we
Speak. When the stones glow skin warm we sing.
There is confidence in our words and endurance
In our singing. The softly flowing river passes.
We speak and we sing.
Peter McEllhenney is a writer living in Philadelphia, PA. His work has appeared in Philadelphia Stories, the Seminary Ridge Review, Referential Magazine, The Apeiron Review, and Blast Furnace. He blogs at www.PeterGalenMassey.com.