The Burning

When I was too young to understand,

I reached way up with my little hand

And placed it on the ironing board,

My mom, who named me after Uncle Ward,

Was pressing clothes for the family –

She didn’t seem to notice me

Standing with my arms raised high,

My body hidden from her eye,

My fingers there between the folds

Of shirt or dress she moves, then holds.

The only moment I can recall

Is when I screamed, the pain a wall

Of suffering I’d never known –

My mother’s shock, the grief she owned.

It didn’t matter what I’d done,

My body raged; I couldn’t run

From house so hurt by fate and loss –

Fury, wrath, no place for thoughts…

I look today at what I am:

Within, there is the unseen hand,

Its frenzy wrapped around my head,

Its weight on every word, like lead.

The madman that I cannot be,

That dark, wild form that can’t be me

Has had its way, until today.

Some-one has pulled the shade away.

The lunatic that wouldn’t die,

The most destructive living lie

Is doomed and then transformed; a force

Like that which lit its very source.

I take this day and write a song

Releasing what does not belong,

Accepting all that comes to free –

The words that ride the melody;

This is healing, this is grace;

This is sound that I can trace

Back to the day when I was burned,

When rage and horror first were learned,

And up to now were hid from sight,

Where understanding sheds its light –

Where understanding sheds its light,

Life takes on a different hue,

Every moment is made new.

And so it is.

Christopher Dedrick 2009

c Copyright Lamplighter Music Publishing Co.

All rights reserved.