In search of story

The asking


In the library I walked among books.
Bent to their planes
I read
as tombstones
the names.


I passed by.
But then back.
I lifted

In the park I stopped
attentive by decree:
the water is loud today
I said to myself
roiling and grey.

The eyes in the round glasses
looked back at me
from sun-checked splash
his words already

Who am I?
Bonhoeffer asked
in Nazi prison
soulkeening for flowers

orphaned of all
but self and faith
he held.
Would I?

The water is loud today.


On 20 January I went to the library and then to the park. I am not the first person to leave a library with inconvenient questions.


6 thoughts on “The asking

  1. “Soul keening for flowers.” I keep repeating those words over and over. Beautiful. I also love how the contrast of your poem followed by your blog sentence illustrates so clearly what a gift to us all poetry truly is. I am new to your blog and can not stop reading. I was also a longtime caregiver and your beautiful words help. Thank you.

    • Cathy —

      My thanks to you for your kind words.

      It means a great deal to me that you would say that my writing about caregiving is a help to you. And on that matter you have my complete sympathy; caregiving leaves indelible marks, and, in my opinion, only those with the experience understand it.


  2. Thank you for giving me a reason to get reacquainted with Bonhoeffer. His name is of course known and honored here in Israel.

    • To think that I barely had the courage to take his biography from the shelf! I didn’t want to know more. His story is deeply disturbing. But he insisted, and so I have, with some trepidation, begun the biography.

  3. I marvel at the sound heard in this poem. And you make me want to go in search of him to ask the same question.

  4. Thank you! You continue to prod me to new ways. Sometimes a regular sentence just doesn’t do the work at hand.

    I think Bonhoeffer’s question is the eternal one. Certainly it’s the writer’s question. Of course, his asking was particularly wrenching. I wonder if we ever get the answer.

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