In discussions centred upon United Nations Day of Tolerance, local Shepparton identity – and writer – Pat Crudden recalled a poem he wrote in 1997, which he felt, had particular, human relevance to tolerance. Pat Crudden’s Poem, Wood Chimes, is offered below.
Wood chime notes are mellow,
softly mellow in a gentle breeze,
lively mellow in a fresh wind;
but here in my closet prison
there is stale air to breathe
through a crack beneath the door
and life is harsh, violent without love
Am I waking or sleeping,
dreaming by day, dreaming by night
of wood chimes by a grave in Joliet,
a father’s love reaching into my life?
A hostage, enchained and closetted,
five hundred and sixty four days,
but always with wood chimes singing,
singing in my life.
Sky, bless the Lord,
earth, bless the Lord,
sea, bless the Lord.
Everything real, bless the Lord,
everything fanciful, bless the Lord,
wood chimes bless the Lord.
Actually there were none;
back in Joliet, kneeling
by my father’s grave
there was no sound.
Yet he was among the saints
in my litany of petition,
kept me sane, made me forgiving,
when even God’s was a hard love.
Thank you, father, for the dream
dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset and night
chime times, Muslim prayer times,
God’s love singing in my life.
Now, in a tree by your grave
wood chimes do sound.
They grow lively and travel far
as the breeze freshens into wind gusts.
All Hindus, bless the Lord,
all Muslims, bless the Lord,
all wood chimes, bless the Lord.
All Jews, bless the Lord,
all Christians, bless the Lord
wood chimes, hope chimes, peace chimes
bless the Lord.
10th February, 1997
This poem celebrates the spiritual journey of Father Marty Jenco, kidnapped in error on January 8, 1985 and held hostage in harsh detention in Lebanon until August 1986. (Father Jenco explained to Pat Crudden that during his detention he could see a solitary tree and hear wood chimes; these gave him hope.)
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