The Weary Ones

We Trudge treacherous trails
Rough mountains and the thorny plains of tomorrow
We listen as landscapes keep up their crying
Memorizing wounds and their places

Hot sun rises, leaving burned faces
Here, human hatred, there is no shade
We taste the tears of the left behind
Wander the day, sharp with remembering

Never stop building
The changes we wish for our children
Never stop moving
Toward something, anything good

Again and again feet step around boulders
Hearts heavy with sorrow
We are holding onto the edges of hope
Often simply for balance

The vision blurs
The directions weave in front of drooping eyes
We fall, but do not lie down
We stand, but are never still

Only the steps, one, and the next
Out into a sharp and staggering world
Stumble through actions
Hope the helpful ones take hold

Whatever end you are seeking
You might reach it on the well worn way
Or arrive bedraggled and bruised
Emerging from the path you forged as your own

No time for the tears behind your eyes
No time to fan the flame of anger
Now, and now, but the future is a needy child
It hollers and hungers, feed it all that you have


14 thoughts on “The Weary Ones

  1. A lot of fire in this poem, Eilis – like scorched earth cracking open. I imagine it relates to things going on in the world right now. Very well expressed.

    1. Thanks, Helen. Scorched earth cracking open, I love that discription! Yes… there’s so much sorrow and suffering and hatred and anger in the world, I do my best to stay informed but after really taking in the reality of what ISIS is doing, what’s happening to Syrian refugees, and even the crazy things that Trump supporters are going on about, it’s intensely discouraging. And then there is what we are doing to the environment. And then my own life is full of transition and uncertainty. It can literally make me dizzy, it’s like treading water and hoping your effort can stall a tidal wave. Or, it is like running on a treadmill–you cover a great distance in terms of steps forward, and wear yourself out only to find you have not shifted your location. Most of the time I just go on and on with what’s in front of my face and meet the challenges right in front of me, and that can sometimes be enough to keep me exhausted with doing … but then I stop and look around, and the enormity of what needs to change, the consequences of our collective choices and the refusal of many to attempt to understand rather than despise each other… it floors me, it fills me with a futility of endlessness where all individual actions seem totally meaningless or at the very least woefully inadequate.

      1. That was what I got from your poem, Eilis, that you were thinking of the refugees and their pain, as well as general frustration at the state of the world today. You put it so well, the consequence of our collective choices and I share your feeling of hopelessness at times, the thought of what difference can I possibly make. But then I think that I will make a difference to me and the kind of person I think I am, if I stand up to ignorance as best I can. I suppose it’s not a bad place to start.

  2. I could feel the pain, and the relentless exhausting moving forward in this, Éilis. And the future as a hollering child, feed it all you’ve got… what a lovely line! I feel despair too at the ignorance and suffering in the world. Sometimes I am swayed to think they are still just a minority, and that people are emerging into awareness, but at other times it all just feels so hopeless.

    1. Thanks, Ali! Yes, I’m totally with you in feeling a glimpse of hope one moment, despair the next. The other day I was reading someone’s article on how to be a change in the world without feeling overwhelmed … I was hoping for inspiration, and instead it was all about focusing on whoever you are with this moment, help this one child, comfort this one friend. I’ve heard that advice all my life: sensable, and nothing entirely new, and part of me was just shouting, ‘sure, but that’s not enough now. There’s not enough time, it won’t be effective!’ But of course, what else is there to do? Live the best we can, try to live by example, be a kind and compassionate human, put energy into what matters most to us at the center and hope it does a bit of good somewhere. Sometimes I wonder if this question of doing enough isnt misplaced, after all, faced with the numbers of 7 billion people and then however many other species here, the scope goes far out of what we can even imagine, enough, for whom, and how much? We’re finite enough that scope limits are necessary. Anyway those are many rambly thoughts…

      1. Rambly thoughts they may be, Éilis, but I’ve often felt the same. Thing is, we can’t do it all, but if more people healed those they were closest to, and did their bit, no matter how small, think of the difference it would make in the world. The few can’t do it all. More of us need to wake up and take responsibility, but it seems to be taking too long. In the grand scheme of things, it’s only a brief moment, I guess.

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