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For too long, I have been a sword
In the grasp of my own hand--
A samurai's blade, slicing
In beautiful, precise, and deadly arcs.
The samurai believed that the worst curse of all
Was to be reborn a samurai.

I do not follow their faith,
Yet I seem to have lost my own.
If your hand, not mine, guides, Lord,
Why do you guide me thus?
What use can the hand of God have
For a sword?

I tire of this life.
Could I have beaten myself
Into a plowshare,
I would have done, long ago.
But I am a man of steel and swiftness,
Of fire and sharp edges.
The life-giving earth knows not my touch,
From me, it but embraces that which I remove.
I have no place in the service
Of a God who rules by love.

Love. It seems a foreign word,
Yet I knew it, once--
Felt it as the glow of sunlight
On polished metal,
Knew it as deeply
As the fire of the forge.
For too long have I been a thing
Of cool metal,
With all impurities stripped away
In a thousand refoldings.

And yet, love is steel.
I have seen it in the faces
Of those who opposed me.
I have heard it in the voices
Of the dying, wishing
For one last glimpse of their wives.
I saw it in the face
Of my own wife.
I feel it still in the depths of me,
Fighting to break free, clawing
At the ice under which I have hidden it.

Love is that which
Allows us to endure
When all light flees our eyes
And all other joy flees our souls.
Love sustains the starving
And gives the weak the strength to stand.
Love emboldens us to face evil,
Freed from the paralysis of fear--
Because we fight to guard those
Dearest to us.

I dare not love again.
I will shatter with the pain
Of the things I have done.
I cannot recapture
A glory that I smashed into shards.
So long ago.
Yet it tears at me
Like a fire, burning.

But somehow, still, your voice reminds me
That love is steel,
That I am your sword,
And that what breaks can ever be reforged
In the fire that is your love.

I must shatter, one way or the other.
So shatter me, Lord,
And forge me anew,
That I might spend my days
In service to you.

--(c) 2003 Chantal Whittington