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“…and when we no longer know which way to go,/ we have begun our real journey.”
Wendell Berry

Bits and Pieces of the Soul

There, on the floor,
sits a boy in silence staring
at a heap of shards
and splinters.

He stares as if his life depends on it.
And it does. For he thinks that the pile
is the centre of his life.
I want to reach out and tell him

what he cannot see: that
he sees it already as it is and beyond
there is nothing to see but his looking,
and by looking he holds it all in place.

And that his soul doesn’t want to sit still.
And that it can’t. But he will.
If only he could stare long enough, he thinks,
or at some peculiar angle, in the right way:

What seems broken
would reveal itself as whole.
The shards and splinters,
the cluttered mound of brokenness,

the many million fragments,
the bits and pieces
would arrange themselves again
into one piece, untouched,

No cracks, without a scratch,
one unity. And I have to watch him
as he stares for as long as it takes
to show that all is not as it may seem.

He wills it. He will unveil what lies
before him as some secret
as the magic shape of something special,
as wholeness in disguise.

And he scrunches up his eyes, he squints,
until he finds the angle, the point of view
with which he squeezes through the pinhole
into someone else’s jumbled world.

That magic thing, that special shape,
that wondrous geometry,
he thinks he’s found it, he thinks it does exist.
For as long as he is able

to maintain this twisted bond
and blame himself for thinking
he is broken when in someone else’s
fact of fiction he tragic’ly is not.

For, according to his mother, the shards,
his splinters, the fragments of his broken soul,
are all perfectly assembled,
exactly when they cover up her hurt, her inner hole.

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