Updated: Oct 5, 2020
Your words, like the rain, fall from Heaven,
Upon the place beneath,
Fall like the words of women passing on a busy morning,
Like some sudden angry thought shouted across a hallway,
Like one clear name echoing across a lake at twilight,
Like the continuous calling of children on the first warm day of spring;
Fall without thought or choice, echoing the same phrases, the same syllables,
Multitudinous and commonplace,
touching like a lover's sensitive fingers the ears of those who hear,
Like the calming words of a mother to her child as it stirs beside her at night,
Like the shouts of men at play,
Fall, effluent like little drops of mist,
Only partially expressed, only half-remembered, only rarely saying what you meant.
Yet your words still come, whether or not they will be forgotten,
Despite their random worthlessness --
Certainly not because of their magic possibilities --
Still come unbidden,
Still come without stricture,
Still come like the gentle rain that falls,
As if each word had a meaning beyond itself.
The truth, like the rain, is usually unwelcome,
Either shattering out after being bottled in,
Leaving shards of old complacencies under the skin,
Or else seeping slowly as if through the leaky roof of an empty house,
Where you come in time to realize that your imagination
Is far more foolish than you had ever dreamed.
And then, in the quiet of this very personal humiliation,
There's nothing more to do
But step out into the rain
And let the falling fingers of mercy wash your face.
If you can accept so much forgiveness
(And also find a way to give it back),
You might just in the silence hear a voice
That offers that salvation none should see
If mercy did not stand above the truth.
You will find this voice,
That knows the musical oblivion of the babbling day,
But also knows the words that ears can hear;
That is not afraid to speak the truth,
But also knows the words that heal and wake;
That knows that mercy is not always kind,
But also welcomes the names and voices of the children
Like drops of rain on a dry tongue.
This voice will start to sound soon like your own
When you find that quality of mercy
That knows how to speak like the rain.