Poems

Bill Rush: ‘A Line of Comfort’

A Line of Comfort
The flowers are always a great blessing; they bring some colour and life into this dreary cell. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer in a letter to his parents from prison. Sunday, 24 July 1943

I wake to grey light, restless, ready to say goodbye to it all.
Time here is not counted by clocks but by endurance.
For some, the open wound of life never heals.

Klaus, the warder, is really just a boy.
He’ll chat and sometimes share a cigarette.
Stronger than the evil in evil, is the good in goodness.

My brother’s face dances in candle-shadow.
The dark is a kind of blanket and less lonely than I thought.

A letter from home today.
The lilac mother planted on her birthday has bloomed at last.
Spring is on its way with a vengeance.

A little sign: a leaf on the floor carried by a warder’s boot.
Light in my palm, its shape suggests
an instrument strummed by angels far from here.

The cantata’s opening bars circle in my head.
Christ lag in Todes Banden
I hum this and the soup tastes better.

A leaf, so somewhere there’s a tree.
It seems the world’s still green, the plum and apple will fruit again
and summer winds caress each branch.

What if I told you that silence and solitude can teach us
what we really need to know? That there must be space for gratitude.
For every breath, and for every bright stream of meandering blood.

My fingers trace a line of comfort on my arm.
How good the body is, even this sun-starved skin.

Bill Rush

 

 

 

 

 

 

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