Saturday, November 9, 2019

"Samuel Remembers"

Samuel Remembers
For Fr. George Clements, Seer and Prophet

Each time
                    I sit here on the helping stone
I have seen the storm    used it to soothe their desires

And when my bones have ached with fire
                                                                     that was
the true voice  I tell them
                                            waking me
to rush to the elder and warn him of his sons

Wearing the robes   my mother wrapped around me
searching against my own heart’s whispers
                                                                      for a man
who would not satisfy their disturbed dreams
                                                                          and then
wandering into the far reaches  
                                                     yet again

I was the last of the old ones of the old ways
I am he who shaped the way it must now be

 By holding
                     a small bowl of oil
the beautiful boy
                              and sending him to dance
against the giants
                              rushing to grind us
into small beads of sorrow

                                             Oh  the promise
I felt
          and feel
                          and know 

                                             It was my mother’s
voice that sounded me

I sit here   knowing
                                 the storm
can be used
                        the fire can be  called

the ache can be

29 April 2019/for 3 May 2019
Anniversary of Ordination:  3 May 1957

            [“Ebenezer:  The Stone of Help”]

In celebration of the 62nd anniversary (May 2019) of his ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood, this poem was dedicated to Fr. George Clements of Chicago. Beginning with his pastorate of Holy Angels Church in Chicago (1969-1991), George H. Clements reshaped the notion of “church” by calling into existence programs devoted to one-church-one child, one-church-one-addict, one-church-one-inmate. He was also one of the mentors and shields for the early development of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panthers as they constructed some of their revolutionary work known as the “Rainbow Coalition.” Fr. Clements was also part of the group who founded the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus in 1968 and remains a mentor to the members of the NBCCC and many other men and women religious and clergy, and lay leaders throughout the country. Much like Samuel in the Old Testament (1 and 2 Samuel), Fr. Clements sought out me and scores of others and called us to be courageous and focused and unafraid of the giants who would contend with us. On November 25, 2019, The Reverend George Clements died, in Hammond, Indiana.