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[Poem] A Story About You

This poem features the central themes of my “Unafraid Storyteller” retreat:

here is a story about you
that I heard from a gossiping angel
who was snacking on a strawberry
in the tree in my backyard this past summer

the angel said that

you used to soar
above the world

they said that

you were once surrounded
by so many miracles
that nobody could tell
where the wonder began and you ended

you were a swirl
of soaring grace

but one day (a long while ago)

a comet came roaring down
and the sky came apart all around you

and after being so wounded

you became grounded to gravity
and found yourself wounded and walking
in a foreign land

eventually, you were captured by those
who told you that flying was now
too dangerous

they said that
that you would enjoy
the safety of confinement

so, they put you in a cage
and clipped your wings

for “your own safety”

the angel went on to say that

for years you stared through
the iron bars and fantasized about
taking flight once more

~ to feel the great wind in your face
~ to be untethered to earthly things
~ to be able to flirt with heaven again

I heard that you dreamed
every night about being
able to reclaim your freedom

“but your freedom never came,”
the angel told me

and over time,
you fell into a deep despair

“I’ll never leave this place,” you repeated
to yourself over and over

The angel said that in your
most desperate hour
you prayed for God to let
your heart stop beating

so you could become a ghost
in order to feel yourself become
tangled up in a hot summer breeze

– even if just for a second

I heard that you prayed to Spirit
to allow your suffering to end

Even if that meant that you
would be swept up by oblivion

I began to weep as I listened to your story
because it sounded so familiar

the angel reported somberly that
your prayers were never answered

and you resigned yourself
to being stuck in the cage forever

then the angel said that

during one winter night
(not too long ago)
a moonbeam winked at you
through the gaps of your cage bars

and how overtook you were
by the soft glow

and how you sang a psalm about
how lovely it all was

the moon heard you
And changed it’s hue from
white to lavender

and suddenly you remembered
something you were told when
you first hatched

your voice can
change the world

and that

there is no prison
that can hold your song

the angel said that even though
they clipped your wings
and put you in a cage

you let your voice grow feathers
and it slips out through the cage every
night to explore the world

every time you open
your mouth and sing
you escape the prison
that you thought you
would never leave

I heard that you learned
that you didn’t need your
wings to be close to heaven

you just needed
to find your voice

and as the angel hugged me goodbye
she told me

that once you started singing
~ you never stopped

and that now you are surrounded
by so many miracles that nobody can
tell where the wonder begins and you end

you are still such a swirl
of soaring grace

oh, my love,

as the strawberry scented
angel rose up I shouted

how I couldn’t wait to hear
your song


maybe it will
help me find
the way out
of my own

~ john roedel

John Roedel 2023 Blog
art by huebucket