Oct 232012
 

Been reading a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer this week, so it seemed appropriate to share one of his most famous poems.

Lectionary: Epiphany 5C: Isaiah 6:1-81 Corinthians 15:1-15
Isaiah 6:5: “And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!'”

“Who am I?,” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer –

Who am I? They often tell me
I stepped from my cell’s confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a squire from his country-house.
Who am I? They often tell me
I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly,
As though it were mine to command.
Who am I? They also tell me
I bore the days of misfortune
Equably, smilingly, proudly,
Like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really all that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath, as though hands were
compressing my throat,
Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
Tossing in expectation of great events,
Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, 0 God, I am Thine!

March 4, 1946

 

1 Cor 15:1: “Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand,through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain”

“Legacies” – by Nikki Giovanni

her grandmother called her from the playground
nbsp;   “yes, ma’am”
nbsp;   “i want chu to learn how to make rolls” said the old
woman proudly
but the little girl didn’t want
to learn how because she knew
even if she couldn’t say it that
that would mean when the old one died she would be less
dependent on her spirit so
she said
nbsp;   “i don’t want to know how to make no rolls”
with her lips poked out
and the old woman wiped her hands on
her apron saying “lord
nbsp;   these children”
and neither of them ever
said what they meant
and i guess nobody ever does

  One Response to “Who am I?”

  1. I read this in a worship service my first year of seminary. I am so thankful for the last line, I hold onto that knowledge when everything else seems up in the air…

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