lenten journal: promise


I come, in conclusion, to the difference between “projecting” the future and making a promise. The “projecting” of “futurologists” uses the future as the safest possible context for whatever is desired; it binds one only to selfish interest. But making a promise binds one to someone else’s future. (Wendell Berry, Standing by Words, 62)


when Neil Armstrong walked on
the moon, they told us the future
would offer us the whole universe;
yet, all we got were space trucks.

the future is a fantasy, or a
nightmare, depending on the
channel; predictions of doom or
dominance seem bankrupt of hope.

there’s enough of life that leaves
us feeling like clay pigeons on a
skeet range: hit or not, we’re going to
end up on the ground in pieces.

can we let that be the last word?
let’s go out under the stars and
find ourselves; tell me again what
it is to be friends, to be together,

to mean what we said, even when
life moves us like chess pieces . . .
there’s no strategy to stop that,
so let’s go back to the memory:

the stack of sacred stones where
we pledged to be friends for life,
whatever came, or where we went–
and here we are, just as we said.

here, even though miles separate,
and circumstances complicate.
here, in heart and mind, flesh and
blood. don’t go on without me.



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