The Common Good
January-February 1998

Rumi and Handel Struggle

by Patricia Rourke | January-February 1998

The book of the Persian poet covered in red amber

promises riches, gold that filters through the cracks

in the heart. Strains of Handel’s Hallelujah hang

The book of the Persian poet covered in red amber
promises riches, gold that filters through the cracks
in the heart. Strains of Handel’s Hallelujah hang
at the edge of my listening. Wind swept lights
blink in perfect harmony with the music. I
am thinking of parents I saw on the news
mourning the unsolved murders of their children.
Who knows how many policemen will knock
on the doors of unsuspecting parents to tell them
their children are no more. "King of kings,
Lord of lords. He shall reign forever and ever.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, forever and ever."
How so their desperate realities exist in the same
world? The same life? Rising and falling
in cruel swirls? Christ is born, Christ is dead,
Christ is risen. Parents laugh. Parents cry.
The Persian poet tries to find a word:
moska: surrender! Joy, torment, promise
of richness that lives forever. The light
dances even if there is no wind or Handel.
The policemen go back to their cars
and wretch. The parents wake their
other children from dreams into nightmare.
They will soon grow to be parents loving
their children all the more because loss
lives forever and ever in the corners
of their heart, making the birth,
the presence all the more dear.

PATRICIA ROURKE is a Catholic sister who works with people facing life-threatening illnesses. She also loves to hike and dance.

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