Saturday, January 28, 2023

You, Clarissa
  of the dark searching eyes,
  your eager soft smile,
you test our beliefs.

You stagger us with your absence.
Can we ever believe in a God who is good?
When your going is so empty of sense
  dare we look for it in our own lives?
We search for meaning and find only pain.

overwhelming us so.
Is this your final gift to us?
Is there anything of value here?
Dare we look deep into this pain?
What will we do if we find nothing?

But look. The pain gathers us together
  in touches and tears.
And in protesting your death
  We affirm life: yours,
  ours, each other's.
And we know,
against all these seeping doubts,
none of us would trade
this cruel pain
for the blessed numbness
of your having never been.

How strange the power of this
  present poignancy
to shake the foundations
  of our being and belief
and just as surely strengthen.

How stunning that your brief
  passing presence in our lives
can evoke this forever grief,
can startle memories of joy
  just as forever,
can bring this all together
so we can see
  - through this prism of joy and pain
  for your having been and gone -
what your life has meant all along.

And here is our gift to you,
our pledge to live out and learn
the truths you came to teach:

that joy and beauty
are not the flowering
of a long life,
but the root of life itself,

that real power to touch a life
resides not in the doings
of strong hands and minds,
but in the being of one such as you
sprouting fresh from
the ground of Being.

We will learn from you, Clarissa
  And follow you too,
  to that Father/Mother
  from whom we all come,
  to whom we all return.

You have pointed the way.
You have gone ahead.
We will not forget.

Recorded by Tom Keene
August 20, 1977