Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Joshua’s Lament


When will all beings be free?

When can I return to my brothers
and be greeted with open arms?
My soul dwells in this barren place
that once housed my heart.

These eyes are dry and tearless now
like the sand beneath my feet
and I have become an omen feared
my face a dark reflection of a man in chains.

The parched grass does not seed the earth
nor uproot itself and move with wind to verdant hills
just as I am bound in this anchored solitude
until the ear of Yaweh hears my cries.

Without hope, I am deprived of mercy
a hollow shell where once a rock stood
proud and fortunate. Alone, I am an empty wineskin
once full of the drink that warmed my dreams.

When will all beings be free?

They have silenced my tongue because
I spoke of peace and the end of tyranny.
Like an ill-fated child who speaks out of turn
they have dealt me vicious blows.

My cries are muffled by the wind that
moves the clouds in dark of night.
How long must I keep silent while my sisters
are raped and my brothers made to carry dung?

What am I to do? Eat locusts and wild honey
like the Baptist John and wait for my beheading?
Must I hide among the rocks and caves until my hair grows
white, my skin a dried brown prune to cast away?

How long, Lord, must I bear this sentence?
You are the One who stirred my heart to speak
of freedom from oppression, of justice for the poor
and now I preach to dried grass and lizards unaware.
When will all beings be free?

Am I to wander forever here without your solace
to never gaze into my children’s eyes? Or will you look again
upon me with your mercy and set the path before me,
carved through mountains with your word?

Will they rise without me, tear the structures from their beams,
raise the flag of freedom and sing ten thousand strong?
They will come to find me then rejoicing, but I will not be found,
my bones returned to dust in the caverns of the hills.

No, this cannot be my final destiny, to never know of peace,
to be like Moses never entering the promised land!
Find me a way Lord! Let me steal into the night by my brother’s side.
Make me swift of foot and strong of will again.

Return me to the land of the living, even if it costs my life,
for I am Joshua, your servant. You gave me a tongue for a sword
and I will never cease to wield its sting upon the wicked.
Find me a way, Lord and I will forever sing your praise!

Joanne Cucinello 2007


  1. "When will all beings be free?"
    Love that repetition.

    1. Thank you! We will always ask that question, won't we?


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