In Opposition to Individualism and NeoLiberalism

The following is a poem that speaks against the premises and promises of our culture that we are better off going it alone, doing our own thing, sucking it up and moving on. It is about how these beliefs and practices serve to isolate us, steal our joy, and forfeit our connection and belonging to each other.

More than all that though, I hope this poem reflects my belief that every person embodies a divine spark and is a glorious creation. That people are worthy of a dignified working out of their beauty and promise. That deep, sustaining love and community is what we all need and long for.

Bantam Branch

Look at you, bantam branch!

Adrift in a barren sky, reflecting cold paleness from the moon.

Mirages brush up and bump against your bruises…

the languid sun that warmed your soul,

the life-course of trees that rooted in your chest,

the arms once wide open to the bright, clear sky,

signs and wonders and so much manna,

That you feasted upon, reaped upon, heaped upon, hoped upon

desires…and were desired,

lovers…and were loved,

babes in your arms, awakened.

They wailed for you in the dark distance.


Look at you, bantam branch!

Untethered to the twitching and tweaking of piety and prose.

Yearning to be a painting others would admire,

to detach and attach to your own encumbrances

to seed and harvest in unspoiled freedom

to leave the gloom of the glen when the night-season fell.

And so you did.

You gasped and grasped at love and light

in all its splendid and twisted arrangements,

And an image was crafted and drafted,

a singular line etched into a deep canvas,

a form and a frame generated, but it became

a still life that someone birthed and hung on their wall.

They didn’t know it was you.

You didn’t know it wasn’t you.


Look at you, bantam branch!

You are glorious!

Did no one tell you? Have you not heard?

Unfurl the stiff pleats of disappointment & doubt.

Sweep off the damp despair clinging to your vestments.

Lay down worry-creased bundles of certainty and sanctity.

Be embraced in the plush folds of mercy and grace.

Receive tender kisses from belief and belonging.

Let beauty splash into your cold, dry eyes and ears.

Let beginnings dazzle your night-vision.

This is the uncommon ground of your being and your glad inheritance.
Be grafted into this glorious mystery:

It is the oil flowing down your beard that commands the blessing.

© 2017 Shari van Spronsen

Peace to you and your household,

Shari van Spronsen, MC, RCC, CCC

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