Pathos

Hanna Erskine

 

Emotional enclaves of brittle hearts

Gather close within the mind

As if to sing a chorus in parts

But no courage do they here find

 

Compassion draws like water clear

Up from a springing well inside

The well slows when we catch a cold leer

We fear chinks in our armor, and we hide

 

Pity for a soul rises in our breast

We desire to reach with healing hand

To remove their awful ailments lest

We are shamed and bury our heads in sand

 

We almost lift that fallen body or those weak knees

We almost call to them that were hurt and cursed

But we turn away, pretending to be busy bees

We turn what was our best moment, to our worst

 

Life passes as we walk away, time shifts

We forgot the one with tears and raw cheeks

Our world returns to somber, vast rifts

Our darkness and worthlessness peaks

 

We watch from afar as the impossible is done

Another worse off than us lifts the weary head

There is nothing remarkable about this one

But on angels’ paths this person does tread

 

Guilt riddles through our aching bones

We slump and cry in our silent way

Our eyes burn and our heart moans

Why did we not be kind this day?

 

Such pathos tears the heart in two

Like lightning renting the sky above

When next we fall upon another who

Needs nothing more than a little love

 

We clap our hands, we cry sweet tears

We lift them from the dusty ground

We swing them round and recall the years

Of loss and pain, when suddenly such happiness we’ve found