I don’t really pay much attention to dreams.
To someone like me the world is as it seems.
But what I dreamed last night – it caused me to wake,
left me soaking in sweat, made my whole body shake.
I was walking through fog in a dark wooded dell
and a clear and safe path was beyond me to tell,
til I had the idea that I’d stand on a log
And I hoped that with luck I’d see over the fog.
My head rose through the mist – and indeed, I could see –
a large group of folk sitting under a tree.
“Why stand there alone?” a voice called from that place.
“We see anguish like ours inscribed on your face.
We all sit here weeping in sadness and grief,
for intolerable burdens that find no relief.”
So I sat down and joined them – I clearly could see
That my place was there with them, right under that tree.
One poured out a tale of pain and of fears,
of hopes that had faded and waned with the years.
He spoke of regret, opportunities lost;
And the wealth he’d pursued at immeasurable cost.
He’d devoted his life to making a buck
til he ran out of chances and ran out of luck.
And he mused on his gains in great happiness won,
his ambition fulfilled til ambition was done.
But ambition’s a whore who is silent and cold
deserting her lovers when lovers grow old.
To one side stood a woman, alone and aloof
who had held good intentions way back in her youth,
But intentions grow brittle and harden with years
And choke like new flowers on distractions and fears.
She’d hungered for love, whatever that meant,
and considered each lover to be heaven sent.
But they rose up in sequence and each fled away
though she tried to cling on in the hope that they’d stay,
til one stayed a lifetime in sullen disdain
and she finally realised the loss in her gain.
A third called to angels and looked to the sky.
And the cry of his heart was repeatedly ‘Why?’
“My wife died in childbirth. My son died at war.
My daughter left home – we don’t speak any more.”
He haemorrhaged anguish that poured out like rain
and I feared that his sadness would drive him insane.
He looked up to Heaven, exuding his grief
and appealed to his maker to give him relief:
“Why does it hurt so? Why is it so hard?
And why do you treat me with such disregard?”
But the sky deluged silence, the wind blew so cold.
He felt empty and lonely and terribly old.
A fourth wept for sadness, and cried out in pain,
For the ending of sunshine, the coming of rain.
He cried in frustration, sweat blood from his brow
“Why for this was I chosen? Why is the time now?”
He wept in his sadness, again and again
for intolerable sorrow on missing a train.
He wept for his anger and wept for his hate
for immovable rocks, irresistible fate
and wept most for the knowledge that now was too late
for the paying of debt and the wiping of slate.
The fifth was a writer, a poet no less
And I saw that she too was beset by distress.
For she wept for eternity bound up in time
and wept for the poems she could not make rhyme,
incarnations she’d lived and more lives to come,
incantations un-chanted, and prizes un-won,
for lovers deserted and parting of ways
the burdens of youth and the Ancient of Days
for her words left unspoken, her works left half done
and I realised her grieving had barely begun.
As the long day wore on and the tears poured on down
I, too, joined in weeping. A man of renown,
I’d pursued adulation and fortune and yet
was beset by the knowledge of callings unmet.
So I cried to the moon and the stars and the sun
opportunities past, with no more to come.
I wept for the living and wept for the dead
And wept that I could be so easily led.
So I wept and I wept til I ran out of tears,
til at last in that place a voice came to my ears.
An angel called gently, a smile on his face
and he bade me sit down in a less crowded place.
And he said ‘look before you, say what can you see?’
And finally, then, I stopped looking at me.
My attention went outward, away from myself
until slowly I realised that in this lay health.
And I looked straight ahead with eyes that were clear
And decided to look despite all my fear.
And there stood before me, transcending the years,
the woman who washed the Christ’s feet with her tears.
If any knew weeping, then this was the one
and the end of her story was mine, just begun.
To that woman I said, “Let your story be told,”
and she smiled as she gave me her secret to hold.
She then asked me to promise to share it abroad
and shout from the heavens this ultimate word.
So this I share with you as wretched you feel
and honestly wonder if it can be real.
Please take my word for it – I’ve known from my youth
This powerful secret, this momentous truth.
And thus by this secret our friendship I’ll seal.
For the secret is simple. It is that tears heal.