Ceaseless whispers hissing in my soul,
Voices urging loss of self-control.
‘Hurt, destroy yourself! You don’t belong!
These people are too good for you! Be gone!’
Ceaseless whispers sending me away,
Away into dark tomb where light of day
No longer shines – I don’t deserve to live.
‘twere better were I dead. I’ve nought to give
To all those folk who try to keep me safe –
Me, ungrateful wretch, unwholesome waif
Who skulks around the graveyard breaking rules
Of clothing, housing – lifestyles made for fools
Who cannot see the hopelessness that reigns
Within my soul – and so they use their chains
To shackle me, to tie me to one place.
I see their fear….. I feel my deep disgrace…..
But I will not be bound! They’ll not hold me!
I’ll break their chains and run! I will be free,
Free to hide, freeze, starve – to run away.
I never should have seen the light of day!
‘twere better had my body lifeless lain
Still-born in crib, than that I live with pain
Of ceaseless whispers hissing in my brain
‘No good! Misfit! Your efforts are in vain’.
Then comes a man, a stranger in this place
Who walks right up to me, looks in my face…
No fear see I in him… and in my heart
A flame is kindled – just a tiny spark
Of hope… until the voices start again
Their ceaseless whispers, racking up the pain
Which drowns all other thought, all other sound
Until I hear his voice which echoes round:
‘Come out of him! Enough I say, be gone!
This man, this child of mine, he does belong!
I gave him life at birth, I set him free
To live in love, in joy, in peace – to be’
Suddenly the voices start to shout –
I have no power to stop them crying out
‘No! No! You, Son of God – don’t torture me!’
And yet my heart would say ‘please set me free’…
But voices stronger cry out louder still
‘Don’t make us leave! We’re happy here – don’t kill
Us, don’t send us away!’… He asks their name –
‘Legion, for we are many – and our game
Is to control, destroy!’… He says “no more!
Go, leave this man!’ suddenly, before
I’ve time to think, to feel – I know they’re gone!
I see my nakedness but feel no wrong –
For I’ve been victim here – there is no blame.
And now at last he calls me by my name –
My true name which at birth my father gave
The son he loved. That name which now will save
Me from disgrace. This man who set me free
Now clothes me, speaks to me – and we agree
That though I’d love to go with him, to leave
This place of pain and shame, yet that would grieve
His heart and so I stay, and will proclaim
To all who’ll listen that there is no shame
In pain or sorrow, sickness or dismay
For always there is hope that brightest day
Will dawn – because for certain sure, you see,
All that this man has done to set me free
He longs to do for all – his power holds true
For you, and you, and you, and you, and you.
For now I know his name – his name is love.
And that’s enough.
inspired by lectionary Gospel reading for Trinity 4 2016: Luke 8:26-39