Read a Poem

Return to this page each month for a different poem by D.S. Martin.

WHAT WILL BE

-------We sense it in the call of a Canada goose in flight --a

longing strong enough to carry an entire flock to their destination

-------We feel it in the grumble of a distant storm --that dark

dissatisfaction at what is --in comparison with what will be

-------The people who should never let us down --let us down --The

cabin roof groans with the weight of so much snow --The stairs in

the old farmhouse complain with every footstep --even with the

memory of feet that move no longer --The branches of an enormous

oak moan in the high wind
-------We hear it in the spirituals nurtured
--in the cotton fields of the

deep south --a deep hopeless sorrow distilled into hope for beyond

Comin' for to carry me home

-------We may think we merely imagine it in the whistle of a train as

it rumbles through a midnight crossingbut the tracks through BC's

mountains were laid with the blood of Chinese navvies --the sweat of

abandoned dreams --& the boxcars rolling through the prairies

during the depression --carried the last hope of the unemployed

Don't imagine that that wail --has nothing to do with human grief

-------Sometimes our wounds heal completely --sometimes they

leave a scar --A woman learns of cancer in her breast --a man finds

his heart is failing --We fall to our knees for a miracle --& are

startled when an answer seems to come a taste of what will be

-------Hear the wind in the cavity where the siding is loose --Hear it

banging against the wall --Sometimesour wounds don't heal at all

-------We fall to our knees --but the sky grows grey --featureless &

silent --We long for what we had --what we almost had --what will be

-------We sense it in the stillness of a beaver pond --or in the rush

over Niagara

-------We see it in the sunflower-pushing through the soil

reaching for the sky --for the sun --When we most identify with this

world --we are most unsettled

— D.S. Martin

(This poem first appeared in The Christian Century)