Driving School, Autumn Nights, Thoughts On Poverty

Driving School, Autumn Nights, Thoughts On Poverty

Driving School, Autumn Nights, Thoughts On Poverty 150 150 Robert Alan Rife

Poverty never ceases to surprise and disarm. What is truly alarming however is whenever I grow indifferent or worse, apathetic, to its crying dishonor. May I never be unaware or distant and always prepared to enter into the suffering of others. Lord, have mercy.


Let me be found waiting when,
like water on a mirror, I slide
from corner to corner,
unwieldy and unpredictable,
the scab before the fall,
the tears before the pain,
the gain before the loss.
Running toward is always better than
running away when haggard eyes
silently proclaim my complicity in
the hollow halls of ownership.


I need to simmer long in cauldrons
of grieving for ones lost on the loom,
dismembered patterns refusing collision
into any kind of shape. Can you smell
the paint on my brush, richly bristled,
bent away from their needy canvas,
dry and parched, stretched too thin
to hold more than grey or black?
Colors here only reveal what stolen
chances never offered have done to ones
who just might wear them best.


Plumbing these altitudes, I grow weary
from my swan dives upward,
expelling all reason for some ritual,
denying them time for tome,
confusing their ache for my art.
Fixed, stuck am I on stolen intrusions
of short memory too bent to sort,
too cold to move, too sharp to soothe.
But forward brings me closer
than any other path, not placating,
or even prosaic but parallel with promises
unveiled only through the repetition
of laughter, laughter and
the solemn, sweet, irrepressible smiles
of the poor.


Robert Alan Rife

My friends think me complicated. My employer thinks me talented but at times, troublesome. God, and my wife see me as I am - a philosopher-poet with a rather circuitous journey of life and faith, the music and worship minister at Yakima Covenant Church, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, poet and writer. I am a graduate from Spring Arbor University with an M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Leadership. These poems, and my life, are dedicated to those places where life, liturgy, theology and the arts intersect with and promote spiritual formation – who we are becoming. Join me on this journey to word-land. Maybe we'll find each other there and share a story or two.

All posts by Robert Alan Rife