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“Questions”

January 10, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

by Constantine Kallinikos’ collection “Laurels and Myrtles”


I asked a desert father of seventy years,

whose silver strands were blown by the wind:

Tell me o father, why, on this earth,

do the light and the dark inseparably move ?

And why must they—like twins —together sprout:

the thorn and the rose, the tear and the smile?

Why, in the loveliest part of the woodland green

have scorpions and vipers concealed their nests?

Why must it be, that the tender bud,

before unfolding its fragrant bloom,

be struck by a worm in the heart of its stem,

and left to die, like a shrivelled rag ?

Why are the plow, the seed and the hands

a must for the wheat, to become our bread?

Why must everything useful, noble, divine

always be purchased with tears and our blood,

while selfishness ever rampantly reigns,

and lewdness is swallowing up the world?

And why, amongst such harmony around,

must tumult and disorder find their way?

The hermit replied, with his somber voice

and right arm pointing to the sky,

that there, beyond those clouds of gold,

the Almighty weaves a tapestry divine.

But since we are wanderers of the lower plane

we see nothing but the knots and strings below,

It is no wonder, why the mind sees wrong,

when it should always be thankful and give praise:

For the day will come, when Christians all,

with souls that ride the skies with wings,

will gaze atop God’s tapestry and see

how careful and orderly everything was!

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