By Oz Cole-Arnal, former professor emeritus at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary
Penned barely two months after “My Prayer” in the same year (October, 1980), the poem below shows how painful is the continuation of forbidden hungers vying against my effort to sustain integrity in my relationships with my dear wife, two boys, students and friends. Above all, although 1980 proved healthier than the next five years when my marriage fell apart, the poem below shows how fragile this “calm before the storm.”
Lonely man sitting by the water—
Transfixed by its mirror image,
Clinging to the pond’s stillness,
Fearful of its changing ripples,
And chained within!
Empty man sitting by the water,
Consumed by the pronoun “me”,
Frightened by the sun, sky and “you”,
In terror the claims out there,
Craving adulation from others.
Yet needing more!
Hollow man, sitting by the water,
Must you engulf others,
Replay them to your own tunes
Redefine them in your own words,
And rework them in your own image,
While remaining alone?
Take my hand, Narcissus and leave the water.
Walk the stony road with me.
Watch the rising and setting sun,
Bend and touch the earth,
Embrace another fearful one,
And say “I” for the first time!