As I woke from bitter sleep,
I noticed only pain.
And soon I could not help but weep.
I tried to twist and strain.
I was within a burning fire,
Though all seemed dark as night.
I shouted out with words of ire
That I would put up a fight.
As I clenched my teeth in rage,
I heard a voice boom out.
“Though all this seems to be a cage,
I’ll leave you with no doubt.
This fire is the fire of life
And there’s nowhere else to go.
This horrid phase of pain and strife
Can heal and help you grow.”
With time I ceased my writhing
Although some aches remained.
Piece by piece this tithing,
My mind and heart unchained.
My flesh was being burned away—
New flesh was growing back.
Around me now were shades of grey
Where before was only black.
Soon I felt the fire’s heat
No longer as torturous flames.
My naked body and naked feet
Were warmed now it was tame.
Color appeared most everywhere,
Fruit trees, the sea, and more.
Many people gathered there,
Celebrating on the shore.
“On holy ground you stand, my son,
It’s good your feet are bare.
For earthly treasures you may have won
Cannot come with you here.”
“Why do you seem gentler now?
What made you kind toward me?
Have you changed your mind somehow?
Why have you set me free?”
“I have not changed at all, my child
But I had to make you strong.
All had to become reconciled
For countless things were wrong.
I am the One who cannot vary
And you were made for me.
When you can’t walk, I have to carry;
When you’re blind, I help you see.
All your pain and selfish acts,
(those creations were not mine),
I have taken and transformed them.
I have molded things divine.
All swords have become plowshares
And all spears, now pruning hooks.
Curses replaced by holy prayers—
Dry land, with garden brooks.”
If one day or a thousand years
Had passed, I could not say.
But gone are all the days of tears
And all evil passed away.