Why in the darkest hour am I so sure the sun will rise again tomorrow?
What makes me confident even in the dampest depths of midnight sorrow
That the light will once again ignite and reach into the darkest crevices of night?
Is faith not the child of dark born of the lack of sound or sight,
With no compass or satellite to guide my prayer
Through the impenetrable wall of bottomless despair?
Is faith not the flickering torch that leads me to believe
That if I step blindly out towards the sounds of grief,
If I march on through the mist of evil’s dew
Then one day the dark will lift and sunshine will burst through.
Those who can see have no need for faith to know what they have seen.
Those who have memory need not faith to know where they have been.
Those who can hear need no faith to know the sounds they’ve heard,
The menacing rumble of thunder, the warbling of the soaring bird.
Those who live in the light need no lamp to guide them,
Or in the burning glow of the glorious sun no shade to hide them.
Certainty buries faith while knowledge digs her grave.
Faith is the gift for the unknowing, the winged sandals of the brave,
The hammer of the status quo, the string on the curtain to be drawn
To reveal the promise of those first deep crimson streaks of dawn.
Faith defies reason, dares us to leap into the thorn,
Promises that we’ll come through with nothing torn
To witness a vibrant brand new world being born.
Faith, you are belief translated into actions and crusades,
Your sign the banner of your being which never fades,
Which gives me confidence to say, without knowing, that the sun will rise again.
Not because it always has – but because without faith all that is left is pain.
Hope, where have you made your home or built your nest,
Where as you flit through the frozen trees do you seek rest?
Why, when you seek to hide the colours of your vibrant wing,
Do you vouchsafe enough to have us yearning for that spring
From which through all eternity you’re constantly reborn?
What is it that makes us search for you in the mists of morn,
Confused by woodcock as they dart among the trees
Or by Greylag geese flying high on the prevailing breeze,
The one the passing flicker of a swift and winged dream,
The other the haunting cry of a spirit far above the gleam
Of the winter sun that strives to burn the clinging mist away.
Why do we look for you in the coldest part of the shortest day
When the sun itself is on part-time and we are on half rations?
Why do we even think when frost suspends our fiercest passions
That somewhere in the gloom we will find you up for shining
When the entire world about is hope-bereaved and pining?
And when the wintry evening falls why do we still imagine
That somewhere in the gathering dusk, however grudging,
Your face will still emerge to light our cloying dark
And drive away the reels of nightmares, vision filled and stark
As blind our eyes and drown our battered tattered senses?
Hope, you must be the open prairie unfettered by gates and fences.
You must be the morning sun which rises daily without fail.
You must be the certain wind that drives the uncertain sail,
You must be the rope which gives the mountain guide the courage to go on.
Yours must be the hand which hauls the sinking from the slough’s despond.
You must be the tunnel’s ending light, the new bright dawn,
You must be the dappled sunlight on the rustling windswept corn,
You the symphony’s crescendo as it brings together its composer’s plan.
Above all you have to be the voice that always meets ‘I cannot’ with ‘I can’.
So why now, when you are needed most, have you fled the battlefield?
How can you hide, when so many before your feathered feet have kneeled?
You have no right to run when all your ragged followers have stayed
To face the howling demons against whom unkempt they are arrayed,
Who threaten to engulf and suffocate them in the airless, lightless, dank domain
Within whose bowels the powers of hopelessness still reign.
Without you there can only be one victor and one demolished soul.
Surely, it cannot be for this that the stone before the tomb did roll.
I once naively thought I knew the every-side of love,
The kindness welling from within, the cherishing from above,
The longing for another’s heart to beat in time with mine,
The blind and passionate desire which yields no bottom line.
The quiet adoration which brings peace and innocence,
And love which nurtures loyalty whatever the expense.
And there were many other sides, I rode them one and all,
Some with a transient success, but most with a sickening fall.
But now I’m learning that I never even touched real love,
I was too blind to comprehend the mirage of the dove
That promised peace and brotherhood, the purity of snow,
Downed by the red-eyed stooping hawk in a shrieking streaking blow
Sending the simple shape of love in tatters to the ground
Lifeblood spilling, shed by killing, staining all around.
Love, you are anything but simple, you are the tangled web
Of intricate reliances, not of heart but head,
Where the pulling of one strand can dislocate another,
Or tear the silken spider’s lace which holds it all together.
The stark reality is that love cannot be judged
By us, that love – which never can be coldly mimed or fudged –
Will always put us in the dock and hold us to account.
And ours will be the panic as the witness stand we mount.
The court of love will stand to judge what each of us has done,
And love’s attorney will seek out those deeds we left undone.
‘Where were you when I needed you, could you not wait one hour?’
‘Why when sharing is healing could you not share the flower?’
‘Why listen without listening, when to hear is to understand
Or to look past the eyes you are looking at as if a keep unmanned
When eyes are the gate to the person, the one who needs your love,
And the speech is the cry of those adrift on the lonely ocean rough?’
Love is the accuser yet still the outstretched hand,
Love wants only to be there to lead us to the land
Where treachery and enmity before love’s flames will flee.
Yet the thorn-torn face of love remains impaled upon a tree
© Copyright 2006 Michael Ancram
Site Design by Clare Kerr
All Rights Reserved