Photo by Mary Elyn Bahlert, 11/11/2020
Autumn colors in Oakland.
Acedia: spiritual or mental sloth; apathy
Monks in their cells in the Middle Ages rose before dawn to pray. Instead, they walked that narrow room, back and forth, back and forth, all day. Some called this a sin, this rocking in their stiff chairs, the unwillingness to kneel, to pray. The days of cloistering went on eternally, it seemed. We've been sheltering for months, the agitated monk inside us growing, growling, longing to be free again. Still he paces, frantic and passive. Call it a sin. Call it malaise, a fever. Acedia has risen from the ashes to mark this time. Mary Elyn Bahlert 10/2020
we walk among the graves,
up hills and down.
I read the stones, glean the stories buried there.
A child, born and died, 2 days old.
Her mother gone, too.
Beloved father and mother,
pictures frozen on the stone,
as if they look the same today.
One young man, mother’s son,
died in war,
before he lived his life.
I count the years of the beloveds
as we walk among the graves.
I reckon those whose lives I now outlive,
some by many years.
I drift off, recounting my own life:
who was I, then?
The time has passed away,
and so quickly.
I am sad as we walk among the graves.
I look into the sky, beautiful.
I see the city in the distance,
all that life booming and moving,
all those moments of importance,
passing too –
Mary Elyn Bahlert