Stones Chosen

Recently I was commissioned to write a poem on one of the Bible’s most enigmatic figures, King David. I was inspired to look into that moment in time when David as a young man chooses stones for his sling to defeat the giant, Goliath. I figured if I could live in that moment with David I could get a good glimpse of what his entire life meant and maybe even get a good glimpse of the meaning of all of our lives. Here is my attempt, entitled Stones Chosen.

Kneeling at the water’s edge

His eyes are filled with searching.

The man child crouches down to find

The giant’s surest ending.

His thought…. It’s in choosing.

Ripples in the quiet stream

Glisten dappled sunbeam worries

Over floating stick, sundry leaves and a

Sudden assortments of prize projectiles.

It’s always in choosing.

The wind whistles through the reeds accusingly,

As sparrows coax choked chirps

And the man child swallows the tart taste of doubts

All of which share the same query

What do you think you’re doing now?

It all about the choosing

Some stones are an afterthought.

Some chosen by mass, others by their merit.

The man child goes for neglected ones

For he knows what it’s like to be forgotten.

Orthoclase feldspar, Rust flex breccia

Sharp edged shale and even darker obsidian

Water laps his digging hands as distant

war drums beat their bitterness

As the giant’s taunts grow with heaviness

As fear flows in waves of weariness

As the tension builds in an army’s reticence

Knowing David’s avarice is limitless

The day feels brittle and pale

It all about the choosing

He sensuously rubs his sight against

one rock’s wet curves and crevices

Even as a youth his eyes

Are drawn to life’s allurement

He moves beyond this enticing pull

Avoiding this trap for later

‘Cause you know it’s in the choosing

Seeing himself within the stream

His hope is in the knowing

of every facial crease, in a furrowed brow

of want, and need and winnowing

But what about the choosing

The brown one smooth,

The grey basalt pale green,

The keen cleft copper one.

The blue beryl rubbed raw,

The hewn angled crag.

He’s choosing stones like he chooses notes on his lyre

He’s choosing stones like he chooses words for his songs

He’s choosing stones like he chooses options

To punch, to pour out or praise

Five stones find themselves next to a sling in the man child’s shepherd’s bag

Such small stones alone they are,

but building blocks for much.

For promises, for family lines

For formation, foundations, for trust.

Alone they are disappointed things,

But together they are of legend.

The hope of a fledgling kith and clan

Of messianic making.

It’s in the choosing

Just a moment of calm… before calamity

A moment of peace for breathing.

A moment where God and his chosen can be.

Before a giant falls, a kingdom collapse, and another in its rising

in response like this water in its stirring.

Soon there will be a sling in hand,

And with it all the whirling.

The spin of humanity and divinity,

The turn of time and temperament,

The spiral of potential and proclivity,

In the rotation of every love and love lost.

Soon there will be the whirling

of deception and authenticity,

of exacting revenge and cutting the corners off cloaks!

For the story is in the choosing!

Life… longed for… is in the choosing!

Our heart torn for tears in the choosing!

One soul dies yet another on lives, is in the choosing!

Freedom’s found or cell door shuts, in the choosing!

Rape, relinquishing, 4 slugs to the skull, lengths of lynching rope, cross, tombs, empty graves, gathering devotees to policy or prophecy

it all in the choosing

It’s in the choosing

It’s in the choosing

It’s all in the choosing

It’s always in the choosing!

As the man child stand erect.

At the creek bed of what is to be.

He chooses these rocks because they are loved.

Not loved because he chooses,

Not because they are perfect, or popular or even preferred

Or that their flight path is known to be true.

He stands there with a lingering sense

This is in God’s eyes how he is viewed.

You can own this as a sacred truth or disregard it in the losing

But leave holding this one thing:

It’s all within the choosing.