Saturday, January 21, 2006

If Only

I

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.



II
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.


III
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.

IV

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.

V

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.


BW III

Jan. 20th 2006.

4 comments:

poserorprophet 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.

Thanks.

Dan

(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....


Ben

David BC Tan said...

Great piece - succinct, and perfectly pitched.

Wayne Bowerman said...

wow!
Thank you for writing this