The days following the election have been dark indeed. People unhappy with the outcome fear for many Americans’ safety and freedoms. Supporters of the president-elect feel alienated and misunderstood. The nation’s unsettled tenor reminds me of that post-9/11 haze in which we stumbled through our days unsure of what would happen next. Except this time we’re moving through a haze divided. Yet in these distressing times, a number of us have felt emboldened to love more and notice more: to live out our faith in the small actions of our everyday lives. I don’t know what the next four years will bring, but I know my child needs my patient encouragement—tonight—on his math homework. My friend—today—needs to cry on my couch with a mug of green tea in her hands. These small actions are also a sabbath rest. By setting ourselves aside, we let go of control and let love take over. Of course (O paradoxical God!), that’s when the most change happens. In “Full Thunder Moon,” poet Julie L. Moore enters a moment of immense personal darkness and lets the rain fall. The fact that the “storm doesn’t give a rip” both saddens and heartens me. We hurt, we “seek refuge.” We often do it alone, soaked in despair as the world goes on. Thank God the world goes on. Regardless of our suffering, there are always new generations of sparrows and finches seeking shelter from the rain.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful,
for I have taken refuge in you;
in the shadow of your wings will I take refuge
until this time of trouble has gone by.
Sitting in the gazebo at Saint Meinrad Archabbey,
___she hears the sky grumbling as one cloud swells,
______its lining stretched so thin,
________all she can see is the darkness within.
Dusk slinks in beneath it.
__The first few fireflies flicker.
_____Lights go on in each eventual window
________as the monks ready for their simple beds.
At compline, their prayers prepared them for the keening
__that comes with loss, whether of light or life.
______Swatting the occasional mosquito here beneath
________the full thunder moon, she inhales air thick with solace,
the only breath possible with rain pending.
__As the first drops finally fall, she realizes how indifferent they are
______to whether her marriage lasted two years or twenty-seven.
________It’s all the same to them as they hurry down
their flights of stairs, every one of them determined
__to skip the last two steps, land hard,
______it doesn’t matter where. They are not picky.
________They have no scruples.
So of course, they alight on the bare arms
__of a wife who’s endured seven surgeries
______& a husband who left her, then told her,
________Your health problems have worn me out.
This storm doesn’t give a rip.
__It doesn’t even know it could be used for good,
______showering fields overflowing with barley
________& wheat & corn, as we all know it does,
or driving a woman to seek refuge
__in a place so vulnerable & open
______a bird, say a sparrow or finch, might glide in
________& roost right there, within an inch of her care.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Written by: Julie L. Moore
Julie L. Moore is the author of Particular Scandals, published in the Poiema poetry series by Cascade Books. Her other books include Slipping Out of Bloom (WordTech) and Election Day (Finishing Line).