Saturday Poem


Bishop Tutu's Visit to the White House: 1984

I'm afraid for you a little, for your sense of shame, I feel you are
accustomed to ordinary evil.
Your assumption will be that disagreeing with your methods, he will
nevertheless grasp the problems.
You will assume that he will be involved, as all humans must be, for
what else is it is be human,
in a notion of personal identity as a progress toward a more conscious,
inclusive spiritual condition,
so that redemption, in whatever terms it might occur, categorically will
have been earned.
How will you bear that for him and those around him, righteousness
and self are a priori equal,
that to have stated one's good intentions excuses in advance from any
painful sense of sin?
I fear you will be wounded by his obtuseness, humiliated by his pride,
mortified by his absurd power.

by C.K. Williams
from Selected Poems
Noonday Press, 1994

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