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This Too Shall Pass, by Mark Rector copyright 1978
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[Readers kindly note: Written over a period of seven years, this poem has probably been re-visited fifty to seventy-five times. The tone of voice and sense of perspective of the narrator, meter and rhyme scheme change throughout the poem, but that's the point ... as we say in Science, "What we study we change," and as we say in writing poetry, "What we study changes us."
Please note also, with my apologies: The original text of this verse was lost over the years, this version is reconstructed from memory: it's not as good as the original, but nothing every is. I guess that's kinda' the point too. Please accept this poor copy of the original poem as a work in progress, much like its author.]
About the URL: This work in progress was originally published to the Internet at:
About the title: I never gave this poem a title, as I was not "finished with it" yet.
In 1978 Professor Joan Stone suggested using the ultimate line as a working title.
So I did.
At that time the final line was ...

This Too Shall Pass
[a work in progress]

Once more last night she proved me wrong: "Our love could calm a hurricane,"
But could not long endure the pain of droning doubt's incessant rain.
A song extolling Love's sweet toil seduced me with sublime refrain.
But since she left, a stinging prod Love wields, its awful fury bared.
And while I tossed in anguish, caught in Lostlove's hopeless tangled coils
My Angel fled. Life's torments drove her out in fear, tho' once she'd dared
A Love as deep and steep and broad as Sea and Sky and Soil.
A love, I thought, which reach'd the stars, yet would not reach for me.
Then summoned by Love's vicious bar, I blessed my cruel despair.
For locked in pain of loss remained this relic:
"Once, she cared."

And not a man was looking,
and not a soul could see
this wretched hulk come rest and sulk upon her empty bed.
And not a man was looking,
and not a soul could see
The searing twisting anger, except for God and me.
And whether God was looking,
or whether passions free
of Judgment's cost, or if Mercy's lost, acknowledge tragedy;
Or in His perfect Wisdom, and faithful Charity
He left me drained and chained to drift self-pity's shoreless sea.

This morning, when she rose alone,
shampooed her hair
and curled it wet,
And drank a cup, and lit one up
(while waiting for her hair to set),
And watched TV and smoked one more
and checked to see
what time it was,
And dressed and prissed and prettied-up
(like women do, for men to see),
And while she hunted up her purse,
wrapped on her coat,
tracked down her key,
Did she miss this morning's terse
reminder-in-a-kiss: "I do."
My God,
are we not one
but two?
Sweet Jesus,
have I ceased to be?

Six years of winter pass and still
the pangs are keen enough to kill.
And every day I rise to know
the pain yet flourishes, yet grows!
In each day's vast uncharted course,
beneath its grinding calloused heels,
The loneliness abates not, worse:
Each new day yet new pain reveals!

I need a hope, I need to see
a light beyond, where I might be
a free, unfearful man,
a rested soul.
For sin is more than hate and lust;
more unbelief, unfaith, untrust.

Hosea's YAHWEH,
lead me fast through this infested forest.
Cast Your Wisdom,
reach a lifeline,
mildly, gently,
teach Your troubled child
the vanity of pain's morass;
There's You to gain,
All this shall pass.

~Mark A. Rector

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© 1977, 1978 to 2009, and 2013 Copyright Mark A. Rector. All Rights Reserved.