The Cup

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Can you drink my cup? He asks.
What strange words, I answer.
Where is it? I don’t drink blood,
I scoff and turn to go

Wait, please, his hand light on my shoulder
Sit a while, here by the stream.
We sit, a sparrow chirps, throating droplets in the sunlight,
bathes, twittering, undisturbed and unafraid

I may have got the words wrong,
his tone is apologetic. They put a halo on my head,
you see, as well as thorns.
We are a cup onto each other.
(Still annoyed, I hate preaching, my eyes turn away)

Clay, flesh, bone, blood, rage, fear, love, war, he persists.
Not the silver cup of fiction, not the golden chalice of cathedrals,
not the jeweled relic in temples.
No! My cup is baked earthen clay — terra cotta

Yes, it overflows in beauty ecstatic,
artists, mystics , shepherds, and your hairdresser know this.
But mostly we drink to cool the mouth dry and dead. The despair
and aftertaste we cleanse with clear water
from the stream.

Ah yes, the dregs (he read my heart)
No mere few grains of deposit at the bottom, are they?
Real, bitter, demon dregs, suspended throughout.
No getting round, my friend,
(his eyes set serenely on mine, I didn’t look away)

These, we’ve got to swallow, all the way
to Golgotha. We all shoulder crosses, don’t we?
(This I get, remembering my pain) Tears
flow, sobs shake me to the core, his hand
strong on my shoulder.

We flow in and out of each other’s Being;
Source to source in our humanity.
We are one in the Cup of Life.

We sat very very still.
I knew my life had changed, capsized,
though how was yet to come. For the moment
I bowed, hand on my heart.

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Maria Robson enjoyed traveling and teaching French and English around the world — mostly Europe, Australia, Vietnam and Oman. The pandemic now allows her more time for her other passions of translation and creative writing. Her work has appeared in anthologies — Beyond the Echo, Ten X Ten, Blue Skies, Polar Expressions, among others. Since the success of Laughing Shamal, Poems from Oman, she has been encouraged to pursue the love of poetry. The Cup is part of a work in progress, entitled "Hidden Parables." She resides in Montreal, Canada.

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