The Concert

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Blog | 1 comment

The Concert

This poem was written by Virginia Hall, retired clergy from Trinity Episcopal Church,  in response to an encounter she had with a person experiencing homelessness in Bloomington.

Walking down Kirkwood
eyes peeled ahead to my destination
a concert
in a big hall
on a big organ.

When suddenly out of the corner of my eye
I see her
familiar yet distant.

Her eyes sparkled as we connected
            skin softened yet taught holding untold stories.

Where had she been
            since we last met
            shouldering her overstuffed back pack
            while I checked her into the homeless shelter?

Yes, it had been a year
            but we knew each other
            grasping for names and then…
            remembering….April, yes, it was April.

Remembering the nightly check-in
            the morning wake up call
            sleepily stripping blankets and pillow cases
            coffee, sticky donuts, packets of oatmeal
            and oranges, if we were lucky.

Remembering how April always engaged
            with volunteer staff
            offering to help the other timid and fearful guests.

And then the  daily goodbyes, oh, so early.
            7a.m.  It’s time to go, ready or not.

Where had she been all year?
            California, of course.  I should have guessed.
            More friendly to her needs
            more agreeable weather
            Redding, Chico, Marysville
            communities of care…off the beaten path
            treatment for glaucoma…new sight!

But now, she has returned
            in search of family
            to a shelter with women
            the Mary’s and Martha’s of this world
            searching for a place, a safe place
            until spring arrives.

 What will it be?
            a home,
            a heart, a family
            or someone’s tattered couch?

Waiting for spring.  I remember April
            a woman of hope
            a woman of joy
            a woman of courage
            April for strength
            against the storms of life
            helping others
            making a home in her heart for the hurts of others.

April, April…it is GOOD to see you.
            a deep hug…take care. I’ll be seeing you.

And so I walk on
            against the wind and rain
            to the big hall
            with the big organ
            abruptly stopped by a sign: Concert cancelled.

Sad for a moment… and then I remember, I remember…
            I have already heard the most beautiful concert of all.