Thursday, December 24, 2015

Ryan Pritt- A Poem

Ryan Pritt graduated with a degree in English/Creative Writing from West Virginia University in 2008. He has since gone on to become a sports writer at the Charleston Gazette-Mail, but in his free time still writes creatively as well.

Dig and arise
Back-breaking, pain-staking, earth-quaking digging
Through crust, mantle and deep into the core
Sweltering, bright heat meets frigid dark winds
The seasons pass by in the blink of an eye
And I dig on, no breaks, no rest, no relief
Shovel breaks stone, while head pummels wall
The blade of the tool eventually wins out
But my brain throbs with each futile thrust
‘X’ marked this spot in deep, blood red
A journey through earth, mind, heart and soul
But this hole towers above me so cavernous
So deep, so high, the mouth is no longer visible
Not that I’d take sight off of below as I tunnel on
Finally I strike something foreign as arms jerk to a halt
The chest is battered like me, crippled under the world’s weight
Treasure that I’ve so long desired lies vulnerable at my feet
I open the box, squinting in anticipation of
The glaring reflection of newly-struck gold
But this treasure is booby-trapped and explodes
Sending shockwaves up the freshly-formed walls
And boulders fall from all levels, landing with brute force
Against the sides of my already trembling frame
By the end I can reach just a hand out of the rubble
Extended skyward searching, yearning, grasping
New wounds are laid open as blood cascades downward
Wounds only time can render painless scars
Fingers stretch and clench, finding nothing expectantly
Yet suddenly, in the midst of my biggest failure
With eyes clouded by blood, blinded by pain
A memory overcomes me, leaving the pain forgotten
Words cut through the blindness and wrap me like a robe
They scream, echoing through the hole “Matthew 14:31!!!”
And the words immediately come to mind
"Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him.
‘You have so little faith,’ Jesus said. ‘Why do you doubt me?’ ”
And in the pits of a pit, in the bottom of the bottom
Soaked in blood, sweat, tears, bile and vomit
With bones protruding from skin and organs straining to work
I realize, I still cannot and still do not
And in that moment grasping fingers find others
That wrap with both the security of a vice
And the softness of a mother’s tender touch
The rock begins to move, exposing my crumbled body
Badly damaged and battered, yet alive all the same
And the ascension begins, flying upward past
The shovel strokes I’d nearly killed myself to create
Seemingly worthless but still lesson-teaching
For a hole dug by greed and by motives of self
Could never sustain against the winds of change
And for different reasons, I know it may not be
The last time I sit alone at the bottom of
A cavern carved by my own hands
But no chasm is so deep to be out of reach from above
And the light at the end of the tunnel never further away
Than the dark shadows that glimmering faith can penetrate
So this venture failed, these lessons learned
Have resulted in scars that may linger for a lifetime
But scars once proved the identity of a King
And one day they’ll remind me of the consequences of this plight
And I’ll show them off for the world to admire
Not for the way they were formed, but the way they healed
I can hear the wind whistling over the top
It sounds like the ocean breeze kissing the top of a bottle
A peaceful thought, the first in so agonizingly long
And deep inside I’m filled with knowing there’s more to come
Because of this hand I’m determined to never let go
For it reached for me when I was unreachable
And helped me learn what’s not teachable
So pull me up higher and I won’t look down or back
Til the gaping hole in the ground becomes a sidewalk crack
Far and abound and away from that place
My wounds and scars no match for the hand of grace

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