IF YOU’D BEEN THERE
If you’d been there – at the Cascadia Poetry Festival
You’d have seen the latihan in action
God’s Grace moving out into the world
Shaping and creating a new future for all of mankind
If you’d been there you’d have seen
The former poet laureate of Canada – and many others
Thanking Paul Nelson for creating this event
You’d have been proud of this Subud brother
If you’d been there, you would have seen
Poets who laugh and applaud each other in after hour’s poetry
While Ray Brown watched the door
You’d have seen him mop the floors
Preparing the space for latihan again at 2 am.
If you’d been there, you would have seen Marston Gregory
Finishing these preparations – returning the space
to the way you’d found it – ready for Sunday latihan
as if nothing had happened.
But the angels knew, the walls new, the floor new.
They’d been transformed by his willingness to serve.
If you’d been there you’d have witnessed
a group of 10 young men walking past our garage door at 9 am
though strangers to us all
the recarpeting of are hall
Only asking, “Is it for a good cause?”
Then go on their way again.
The angels were watching.
If you’d been there you’d have heard poems
From women young and old transforming their world
Into images shot out into our ears
Echo’s of their lives, lived and living
Loves loved and lost.
You’d have heard Kim Goldberg’s poem
of a homeless woman in Nanaimo,
a work of such compassion and empathy
it would have transformed you.
If you’d been there you’d have heard the children
Of 826 Seattle reading their poems
They would have surprised you with their depth and courage
If you’d been there you’d have spoken with Brandon Letsinger
Executive Director of Cascadia Now!
Creating connections across boarders of state and nation
Acting on a receiving as clear and as commanding
As anything I’ve ever received in latihan
If you’d been there,
You’d have understood, in a completely new way
What Paul and Meredith has been trying so hard to achieve.
You’d be amazed.
You’d be grateful for such courage.
You’d have congratulated them on what they’d achieved – with the help of others.
If you’d been there.
(c) Oswald Norton 2014