Stan Rogers is best known as a folk singer, for good reason. And this is indeed a song, in the sense that it is sung. But it works best, for me, as poetry. I understand this poem, I feel this truth, but I still don't entirely grasp it, or live it to my satisfactions. It comforts and challenges me.
by Stan Rogers
How early is "Beginning"? From when is there a soul?
Do we discover living, or, somehow, are we told?
In sudden pain, in empty cold, in blinding light of day
We're given breath, and it takes our breath away.
How cruel to be unformed fancy, the way in which we come -
Over-whelmed by feeling and sudden loss of love
And what price dark confining pain, (the hardest to forgive)
When all at once, we're called upon to live.
By a giant hand we're taken from the shelter of the womb
That dreaded first horizon, the endless empty room
Where communion is lost forever, when a heart first beats alone
Still, it remembers, no matter how its grown.
We grow, but grow apart -
We live, but more alone -
The more to see, the more to see,
To cry aloud that we are free
To hide our ancient fear of being alone.
And how we live in darkness, embracing spiteful cold
Refusing any answers, for no man can be told
That delivery is delayed until at last we're made aware
And first reach for love, to find 'twas always there.
(the index of other lyrics and poetry I've posted is here)