A Psalm of Grief (for Manchester)

I feel your presence yet I know it cannot be, 
    even as I welcome your embrace.

I speak of what I cannot truly know
    and still I sense that you are somehow here.

I have struggled for a way to name your face, 
    a name that is not empty or in vain,

Yet something that compels me in the hush
    even whispered in this busy-ness;

“I have been sorrow. 
    I have been death-bound.”

“I have been nailed to a cross.” 
    “I have been tied to a fence post.”

”I have been burned
    like trees and books and sinners.”

While I wait upon your word to set me free, 
    even as I’m chained by my own grief.

“I am the song of someone dying.” 
    ”I am the singing of an empty tomb.”

In empty buildings and in withering hearts, 
    a song at once exalted and yet futile,

I search for you in words and pages, 
    in earth, in sunsets, and the vain
        puffery of heroes.

I search not knowing anything at all. 
    I seek not seeing yet beyond myself.

I knock on doors at empty houses, 
    ask each wrong question ever so sincerely.

I beg for solace, knowing even still
    I must embrace the pains we’ve bred.

I find you in the trite advance of death, 
    the inexorable wracking pains of birth.

I surrender, not for any other reason
    than that I must for mercy’s sake,

Because there’s nothing else; 
    because I’m empty and I’m tired.

I surrender myself up to foolishness, 
    for I am merely not enough,

And hope that I am not alone, 
    and know that I cannot suffice.


Among the towers we have raised, 
    and the temples we have vainly built;

Among these endless humming streets, 
    our ceaseless songs of war;

Crumbling beneath the weight of bones, 
    the howling winds which scour,

Cry the voices of our prophets, 
    our parents who believed

That you were with them, trusting, 
    according to some ancient word and nothing more

In an old book, ribbon-marked, 
    the hue of blood on winter's page.

I am yours, because there is no other. 
    I am yours, because I am already dead.

I am yours, even as I live; 
    because the truth of you weeps from the skies

Because you are the only one
    who can make us better than we are.

© 2017, Karekin M Yarian