Mjölnir 1 by Burke Sperling
The devine Mjölnir – weapon of thunder –
The most powerful of tools –
Is nothing more than a
in the hands of a fool –
a bull whip in the hands of
Blows of my words as I
Bumble through another
China Shop of feelings –
the delicate tea cups,
the precious crystal refracting a rainbow of colors.
I’m blind to the carnage each
Swing of this grindstone unleashes –
Except for the understanding I pursue…
Blind to the shards
Of precious glass that
Fall under foot as each
Blow shatters all in its path.
Only a fool
Uses a sledgehammer to be understood ~
my words cannot be brought back,
for Mjölnir always hits its target.
After the dust has settled and
I finally see the
Slaughter before me,
The pain in her eyes
The slivers of glass
That slice my very soul…
My heart breaks and
I in vain
throw Mjölnir into the depths
but it always returns
to the hand of its owner.
1 Mjölnir, (thunder weapon or grindstone) – Thor’s hammer is one of Norse mythology’s most fearsome and powerful weapons capable of leveling mountains. It was said that Thor might smite as hard as he desired, whatsoever lay before him, and the hammer would not fail; and if he threw it at anything, it would never miss, and never fly so far as not to return to his hand.
Jesus says, “By faith you will be saved” (Luke 7:50, 18:42). It is only by a foundational trust in the midst of suffering, some ability to bear darkness and uncertainty, and learning to be comfortable with paradox and mystery, that you move from the first half of life to the second half.
Novelist Robertson Davies wrote, “One always learns one’s mystery at the price of one’s innocence.” The word innocent comes from the Latin for unwounded or not harmed. The innocent one hasn’t yet learned from his or her wounds, and therefore doesn’t know his or her full reality yet. Human life only develops in the shadowlands, never inside of pure light or total darkness.
When you’ve stumbled—and the guilt, loneliness, and fear come to assault you—if you don’t have at least one good friend, or if you have not developed a prayer life where you know how to find yourself in God instead of in your own feelings, you will simply retrench and reassert your correctness. You’ll learn nothing and remain in the first half of life, maintaining your container and supposed identity. If you only move from success to success, or you never live in solidarity with the suffering of others, you normally know very little about your own soul.
Written by Burke Sperling: father, friend, teacher, mentor, poet and more than meets the eye.
Next week see “Reversed Thunder” – a reference to George Herbert’s poem on Prayer.