It is a beautiful sunny day here in Oxford – the trees are magnificent – many leaves are down and those remaining are turning gold and yellow and brown. It is hard to think that there are storms elsewhere – poverty, war, hunger , despair – I am in a sort of peaceful beauty that leaves me still and secure. But the last stanza of this poem speaks to me … reminds me not only to remember my own storms, but to be absorbed and affected by the storms around too so that my roots can be ‘terrified’ and I will be made new.
To understand
A little of how a shaken love
May be sustained
The giant stillness
Of a willow
After a storm.
This morning it is more than peaceful
But last night that great form
Was tossed and hit
By what seemed to me
A kind of cosmic hate,
An infernal desire
To harass and confuse,
Mangle and bewilder
Each leaf and limb
With every vicious
So that now I cannot grasp
The death of nightmare.
How it has passed away
Or changed to this
This clean peace
That seems so unshakable
A branch beyond my reach says
“It is well
“For me to feel
The transfiguring breath
Of evil
“Because yesterday
The roots by which I live
Lodged in apathetic clay.
“But for that fury
How should I be rid of the slow death?
How should I know
“That what a storm can do
Is to terrify my roots
And make me new?”
~ Brendan Kennelly ~
(A Time for Voices)


One Response to “Roots”

  1. Denise Says:

    Oh! such a beautiful reflection Lynne and such a very relevant poem especially for all those struggling with the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. I recall hurricane Katrina, which impacted Louisiana, as my nephew – in – law is from there, all be it his family lives in northern Louisiana, and was spared some of the devastation, however, there are so many whose roots were terrified… May our support and prayers be with all those who in any circumstance are in the process of rebuilding their lives so that they can, please God, come to know that the storm that has “terrified their roots can make them new”.

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