by Marge Piercy
We rise to speak
a web of bodies aligned like notes of music.
Bless what brought us through
the sea and the fire; we are caught
in history like whales in polar ice.
Yet you have taught us to push against the walls,
to reach out and pull each other along,
to strive to find the way through
if there is no way around, to go on.
To utter ourselves with every breath
against the constriction of fear,
to know ourselves as the body born from Abraham
and Sarah, born out of rock and desert.
We reach back through two hundred arches of hips
long dust, carrying their memories inside us
to live again in our life, Isaac and Rebecca,
Rachel, Jacob, and Leah. We say words shaped
by ancient use like steps worn into rock.
Bless the quiet of sleep
easing over the ravaged body, who quiets
the troubled waters of the mind to a pool
in which shines the placid broad face of the moon.
Bless the teaching of how to open
in love so all the doors and windows of the body
swing wide on their rusty hinges
and we give ourselves with both hands.
Bless what stirs in us compassion
for the hunger of the chickadee in the storm
starving for seeds we can carry out,
the wounded cat wailing in the alley,
what shows us our face in a stranger,
who teaches us what we clutch shrivels
but what we give goes off in the world
carrying bread to people not yet born.
Bless the gift of memory
that breaks unbidden, released
from a flower or a cup of tea
so the dead move like rain through the room.
Bless what forces us to invent
goodness every morning and what never frees
us from the cost of knowledge, which is
to act on what we know again and again.
All living are one and holy, let us remember
As we eat, as we work, as we walk and drive.
All living are one and holy, we must
make ourselves worthy.
We must act out justice and mercy and healing
as the sun rises and as the sun sets,
as the moon rises and the stars wheel above us,
we must repair goodness…
We will try to be holy,
We will try to repair the world given us to hand on.
Precious is this treasure of words and knowledge and deeds that moves inside us,
Holy is the hand that works for peace and for justice,
Holy is the mouth that speaks for goodness
holy is the foot that walks toward mercy.
Let us lift each other on our shoulders and carry each
Let holiness move in us.
Let us pay attention to its small voice,
Let us see the light in others and honor that light.
Remember the dead who paid our way here dearly, dearly
and remember the unborn for whom we build our houses.
Praise the light that shines before us, through us, after us, Amen.