Saturday, January 21, 2006

If Only


I would have dressed up,
Only it was too much trouble.

I would have gone out,
Only it cost too much.

I would have driven,
Only travel’s dangerous.

I would have eaten,
Only I weigh too much.

I would have danced,
Only I didn’t have a partner.

I would have returned,
Only it brought back bad memories.

I would have gone,
Only I didn’t have time.

I would have visited,
Only I wasn’t wanted.

I would have tried,
Only it was a waste of energy.

I would have helped,
Only they didn’t need me.
I would have cared,
Only I didn’t feel like it.

I would have cried,
Only I wasn’t sorry.

I would have volunteered,
Only I had better things to do.

I would have voted,
Only it wouldn’t have changed things.

I would have donated,
Only they’d made their quota.

I would have spoken up,
Only I was afraid to.

I would have acted,
Only others got there first.

I would have felt sorry,
Only I didn’t feel guilty.


I would have prepared,
Only it was too much work.

I would have studied,
Only I wouldn’t have passed.

I would have corrected it,
Only it was too late.

I would have told the truth,
Only it would have offended.

I would have graduated,
Only life intervened.

I would have gotten the job,
Only they didn’t like me.


I would have prayed,
Only God only knows.

I would have worshipped,
Only I hate to sing.

I would have fellowshipped
Only I didn’t know them.

I would have served,
Only I didn’t have the calling.

I would have loved,
Only it hurt too much.

I would have lived,
If only.


Jan. 20th 2006.


DanO said...

Dr. Witherington,

This poem is brilliant. I've tried to enjoy poetry and (mostly) it doesn't do too much for me, but I love this piece.



(Although I will not be voting in the upcoming Canadian election. Not because I think it "makes no difference" but because I don't buy into a State-sponsored soteriology. I follow Hauerwas in affirming the Church as polis.)

Ben Witherington said...

Thanks Dan....


David BC Tan said...

Great piece - succinct, and perfectly pitched.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this