The Emptied Cup — a poem

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“Cups” by Bsivad is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Emptied Cup

By Jane Tawel

July 18, 2020

I felt a great need to share something,

Encouraging, hopeful, or good.

And I racked my mind and rummaged my heart,

And kept telling myself that I should

Find a quote or a saying that would lift people up,

But I found when I looked: there was naught in my cup.

***

You know that cup? — the one we all drink from,

That carries our feelings and all that we think of

The world and the people and what might be “out there”;

The cup of our hopes, and our dreams, and our doubts here.

But my cup was plain empty — not a sludge or a dross,

And I asked myself, “Why should I give a darn toss?

No one needs me to rise to this challenge.

No one needs me to weigh into the balance,

Between good and evil, or fear and hope;

I’m obviously empty. I’m one big dumb dope!”

So, I took my cup into my closet and moped.

***

I sat in the dark and licked at my bruises,

And felt sorry for me with no insights or muses.

But then a small voice, like the first drop of rain,

Asked me to look in my cup, once again.

And I saw that my cup was still empty and clean,

And I said to the voice, “what the snap do you mean?”

***

The Voice said quite faintly, “Dear child, don’t you see?

When your cup is quite empty, I can fill it with Me.”

***

And I realized that only by draining my cup,

Of the self-centered dregs that had filled my soul up,

Could I let the world’s true needs and hungers be shorn of,

All the fears, hates, and selfishness hollows are born of.

And only when I know how empty I am,

Can my cup then be filled by the wise Son of Man

Who taught us to drink from true worth’s living spout,

That is found only when we pour ourselves all out.

***

It was only when I learned that I’d always fail,

If I thought my small cup was some great holy grail.

And I’m happy today, to report “I got nothin’

To pour in your ears; or your minds to be stuffin’

With beauty or glory or humor or thinking,

I can’t share any nectar the gods’ have been drinking.

I just have this void vessel with nothing inside,

But the good news is it has been drained of my pride.

So, it’s ready for you to fill with your own needs,

Your fears and your longings, your joys and your deeds.

Today with an empty cup I have been christened,

As a chalice who finally can just love and listen.

For that is how my empty cup will be full,

Of the things that will last in an eternal soul.

***

There is an old poem about cups running over,

And living with joy in green pastures forever.

My cup runneth over. No evil I’ll fear,

And Your goodness and mercy will to me, be near.

A table’s before me, Your Way will I go,

And with Love and with Peace, my cup will overflow.

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