“Keeping Our Small Boat Afloat”

“So many blessings have been given to us

During the first distribution of light, that we are

Admired in a thousand galaxies for our grief.

Don’t expect us to appreciate creation or to

Avoid mistakes.  Each of us is a latecomer

To the earth, picking up wood for the fire.

Every night another beam of light slips out

From the oyster’s closed eye.  So don’t give up hope

That the door of mercy may still be open.

Seth and Shem, tell me, are you still grieving

Over the spark of light that descended with no

Defender near into the Egypt of Mary’s womb?

It’s hard to grasp how much generosity

Is involved in letting us go on breathing,

When we contribute nothing valuable but our grief.

Each of us deserves to be forgiven, if only for

Our persistence in keeping our small boat afloat

When so many have gone down in the storm.”

by Robert Bly