[The words of this sonnet are printed below.]
At the end of the excellent TED Talk below Ibram X. Kendi says what Lin Manuel Miranda says at the end of his emotional sonnet responding to the Orlando mass shooting (also below): love is what is going to change and save this world, love is what must rule the ethics and practical policies and politics of our world if we are to survive.
The “revolution of values” that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesus said we need is a revolution of love, and the Dalai Lama’s “revolution of compassion” is the kind of love they meant.
This poem is about the way the revolution begins. It starts in the heart with a particular love of neighbor as our own self, an intimate oneness, whether with a person or pet or place or community or form of God, and then it overflows into the world.
EB White wrote at the start of World War II, “Who is there big enough to love the whole planet? We must find such people for the next society.”
We must make that next society now, but a compassionate oneness with every person, creature and corner of the planet can happen only if our love is grounded in the part of the world that is within and around us. It begins in the flesh.
In the Gospel of John it says that the Word was made flesh. Through the alchemy of love our flesh is made a life-changing, world transforming word.
The Flesh Made Word
Come hold me close and let us both be still
while all the world around us falls apart.
Come kneel beside the spring we share and fill
with evening breeze the cup that is our heart.
Come let us form one small and holy thing,
a summer garden, winter fire, walled tight,
a home where, while it storms outside, we sing
and cook and touch, we meditate and write.
Come, let our falls and false walls heal and then
go—two made one—to take all we have found
within this blesséd Edenistic den
and let earth hear again, through us, the sound,
the voice of love’s creative, cosmic word
reversing death wherever it is heard.
copyright 2020 Thomas Cary Kinder