Water to Solace Our Dry Hearts

Byron Jorjorian

Spiritual Sunday

In the Episcopal Church’s readings today, we hear a lovely passage from Isaiah (25:4-7a) that concludes,

For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
          and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
          and the thirsty ground springs of water.

Here’s a Denise Levertov poem evoking the same vision of God’s salvation. Levertov never explicitly the Holy Spirit, but the water imagery evokes amazing grace. When our hearts are dry, when they are stony and seem to offer no foothold, the fountain “is still there and always there/ with its quiet song and strange power.” The spring, which is both verb and noun, enters “up and out through the rock.”

The Fountain

Don’t say, don’t say there is no water
to solace the dryness at our hearts.
I have seen

the fountain springing out of the rock wall
and you drinking there. And I too
before your eyes

found footholds and climbed
to drink the cool water.

The woman of that place, shading her eyes,
frowned as she watched—but not because
she grudged the water,

only because she was waiting
to see we drank our fill and were

Don’t say, don’t say there is no water.
That fountain is there among its scalloped
green and gray stones,

it is still there and always there
with its quiet song and strange power
to spring in us,
up and out through the rock.

A note on the artist: Photographer Byron Jorjorian’s work can be found at www.byronjorjorian.com/index.php

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  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

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