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Echoes

By Dan Baumgartner on
Dan Baumgartner
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Mar 27 in Musings
Carl Sandburg once said “Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” The best poetry
paints pictures, moves and stirs us even when we don’t totally understand it.  I don’t consider myself a poet, though I love poetry.  Two or three time a year I will scratch out a few lines or the outline of something to come back to later.  Occasionally a real poem emerges.  However, every year since 2001 I have “received” a poem during Lent. I never really sit down to think about it, but inevitably an idea gets my attention and it feels like...a poem. Specifically, a poem for Good Friday. Attached is the one from last year, 2017.  I hope it helps draw you into Jesus’ journey, and prepares you for the great hope of Easter morning.
 
See you soon,
            Pastor Dan
The Boulevard
Where is everyone?
I repeat it loudly as I walk,
Where is everyone?
It doesn’t matter.
The echo rolls off silent buildings-
W Hotel, The Pantages.
Pitch black at noon, Hollywood utterly empty.
I glance up the Boulevard,
desperate for any living creature.
Nothing moves. No cars, no people.
In the middle of the intersection at Vine,
a wooden table and two chairs.
A man sits in one.
I circle cautiously, suspicious.
The man, as though long waiting, smiles-
Come, sit and dine with me.
I approach the table, alert, wary.
His eyes draw me in.
Come, the man says again, sit and dine with me.
It is my choice. I have no choice.
He breaks bread for our plates.
I notice his forehead, cut and raw.
The bread is good, I begin to talk,
barely aware of a growing stain on his shirt.
I tell him many things.
I tell him who I am.
Not my name, mind you, but who-I-am.
The man smiles again, wincing just a bit.
I know. Come, dine with me.
Good wine is poured into cups.
I sip, glance down and startle.
A red puddle from under his chair
slowly pools at my feet.
You are hurt!
Yes.
The silence around us ruptures.
Cars honk, an angry crowd gathers, glaring.
I look an anxious question at the man,
who sits still, watching only me.
Come, he says peacefully, dine with me.

                                                                                      -Dan Baumgartner
                                               [Good Friday 2017, with a small apology to George Herbert]

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