As a young woman, I read a poem that stuck with me over the years, even though I only remembered the title and the ideas it presented. Recently, I ran across it again. It was tucked away in a scrapbook in which I had collected my favorite writings.
I have been struggling with how to say what I wanted to say following the tragic events in Boston, (knowing I could not take a pass on it) and when this poem came back into my life, I realized it was the perfect place to begin.
In this poem, the writer, Rosemary Cobham, describes the kindness, softness, and yet unlimited power, of water.
Let’s look at it together.
Consider the kindness of water; consider its wise ways,
Smoothing the rough stone over with continual softness of flowing;
Planing the jagged corners, streaming over and round delays;
Consider the insistent gentleness of its going.
Consider the clean, sure discipline of water, turning the great wheel,
Controlled and patient, unimpassionately pursuing;
Strong and pliant as a thin ribbon of tempered steel;
Consider the tireless obedience of its doing.
Consider the gentle dropping of small rain, tenderly drenching
The closed up petals, until they unfold to laughter;
Compassionate freshness of satisfying small rain, fulfilling and quenching
Consider the wise – the infinitely various ways – of water.
I love how this description of the behavior of water gives us another way to respond to tragedies, both large and small.
Tragedy is always heartbreaking. However, what often follows is just as heartbreaking. Instead of embodying the beautiful qualities of true power as described in this lovely poem, we react too often with hatred and revenge in mind.