O Beloved, You bathed the feet of lepers,
rinsing away centuries of accumulated dirt.
Then, You touched Your holy forehead
to their distended stumps.
Beautiful birds in ugly cages, You called them.
Only You could see their true beauty.
In the years I have been with you, O Beloved,
parts of me have atrophied and fallen away.
Through the eyes of the world, I now seem disfigured;
crippled and useless.
I am a beggar at Your door, desperate to remain
in Your good graces.
I am slowly dying, one appurtenance at a time.
O Beloved, let the beautiful flame of a bird within me
sing fervently among these ruins!
Let me serenade You as the cage that entraps me
cracks and rusts away.
O child of God, rejoice within your ugly cage.
Your Beloved is that beautiful bird that flares and sings
brightly within you.
(from The Garden of Surrender)