Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Services

It's 9m at our little Indiana home Church of Beethoven... or Berryman. Teenagers catching up on their precious sleep. The sun is shining, but it is cold. Our solo services unfold, like the Sunday paper, pages of the New York Times. A trip to the co-op for milk, eggs and bread.

Musical selections throughout the day may include the "Mostly Live" CD by the Young@Heart chorus, and the new Killers CD. We're human here, and dancer, too.

But mostly silence. There is a memorial service this afternoon at Harmony School for Madeline Krause, an IU student who attended Harmony and acted in many plays at the Bloomington Playwrights Project. Maddie died of suicide a week ago Saturday, falling from the top of a parking garage. (Sadly, her death echoes that of Timothy J. Wiles, English professor at IU, co-founding participant in the BPP, who died a few years ago after falling off the Atwater Parking Garage.)

Maddie's too-early death may be part of what sent me to Berryman's Recovery, a very moving book, not least for never having seen completion. Prayers for those who struggle with depression, loneliness, and forms of addiction, seeking recovery and peace. Prayers for family and friends suffering in the aftermath of suicide.

My mother, poet Joyce Kennedy, sent this poem by Berryman, from his Eleven Addresses to the Lord:

Sole watchman of the flying stars, guard me

against my flicker of impulse lust: teach me

to see them as sisters & daughters. Sustain

my grand endeavours: husbandship & crafting.

Forsake me not when my wild hours come;

grant me sleep nightly, grace soften my dreams;

achieve in me patience till the thing be done,

a careful view of my achievement come.

Make me from time to time the gift of the shoulder.

When all hurt nerves whine shut away the whiskey.

Empty my heart toward Thee.

Let me pace without fear the common path of death.

Cross am I sometimes with my little daughter:

fill her eyes with tears. Forgive me, Lord.

Unite my various soul,

sole watchman of the wide & single stars.

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