The Desert Fathers and Mothers were a community of 3rd century Christians living in the desert in Egypt. Their sayings have been preserved. As a senior Brother Moses was told to go to a meeting to give judgement over a brother who had committed a fault. At first he would not go. When eventually he set out, he carried a cracked jar that was leaking water as he walked.
‘What is this, Father?’ The old man said to them, ‘My sins run out behind me and I cannot see them, yet here I am coming to sit in judgement on the mistakes of somebody else.’ When they heard this, the called off the meeting.”
This piece represents a dialogue where a judgemental attitudes do not exist and an acknowledgement that nobody is perfect.
Sinuous borne signaled lines
mark a track on sliding sand,
trace the slithering snake unseen,
seeking prey where the searchers stood.
Landscape in a fluid flux
carved by wind, “the artist’s hand”
draws desert fathers, wrought to suffer,
to find a place in Universe,
isolated, harsh and cruel,
Nature’s lash on devoted flesh
chases deep to contemplate.
They seek to find the perfect way
but mistakes of mortal minds are shared,
intentions leak like water from a vessel broke
and spill upon the arid ground.
Non may judge this defect clean
but together they must journey
to refill their vessel once more anew:
a caste communed in melded minds
they walk the dune in freezing night,
climb the shifting sand,
bent by burning light.
Witness fiery dawn, bursting red!
Lifting lines, long shadows drawn,
banished silver stars on backdrop black,
they see wonder wrapped in solitude.
17th Feb 2017