You Gotta Cry Sometimes

by Joe Davis

I sat in silence on the edge of my bed,
with traffic jam thoughts piling inside of my head,
nerves vibrating, tightening like a spider web thread, 
and I gently covered my chest with the palm of my hand

It felt like a part of me bleeding,
like every part of me leaving—
even the God I believe in.
I thought in secret,
‘Is this what they call grieving?’

I was bobbing and weaving,
’til I started releasing
so hard I was heaving
from my sobbing and weeping

This was the moment I finally let go,
a moment the floodgates could no longer withhold,
the moment I surrendered and lost all control,
And let the holy water wash over my soul

Holy water, wholly water,
Cleanse and wash me,
Hold me gently,
Hold me softly

Jesus wept.
These tears have taught me
to weep is human,
to weep is godly.

When I gave permission for the waves to rise
Waters gathered like a choir in the aqueduct of my eyes
Singing psalms of lament with each changing tide
Baptizing my breath with every bathing sigh

Tears of mercy and justice kissed, rolling down my chin to meet
Rivers of righteousness slid round my cheek like a mighty stream
These waters have shown me crying is not a sign of being weak
But Love’s persistent flow within us during our time of grief

Holy water, wholly water,
Cleanse and wash me,
Hold me gently,
Hold me softly

Jesus wept.
These tears have taught me
to weep is human,
to weep is godly.

I am not broken
I am breaking open
my heart is learning the art of staying open

No need to fight, to hide inside,
try not to let somebody know

I need to cry and remind my eyes
to see where new life might flow

Tears make my eyes swell
Tears make my eyes well

I feel a little lighter now
I see a little light here now

There’s something in the water
That heals more than time can tell

these waters won’t recede
until they’ve watered every seed
and we may be in need to wash, rinse, and repeat

Holy water, wholly water,
Cleanse and wash me,
Hold me gently,
Hold me softly

Jesus wept.
These tears have taught me
to weep is human,
to weep is godly.

© Joe Davis Poetry, 2021. All rights reserved. Poem commissioned for the Connect Journal issue: “Grieve” published March, 2021. ELCA Youth Ministry Network (elcaymnet.org)


Joe Davis is a nationally-touring artist, educator, and speaker based in Minneapolis, MN. He employs poetry, music, theater, and dance to shape culture. 

His work has been featured on BET, CNN, and VH1. He is the Founder and Director of multimedia production company, The New Renaissance, the frontman of emerging soul funk band, The Poetic Diaspora, and co-creator of JUSTmove, racial justice education through art. He has keynoted, facilitated conversation, and served as teaching artist at hundreds of high schools and universities including programs in New York, Boston, and most recently as the Artist-in-Residence at Luther Seminary where he earned a Masters in Theology of the Arts. Visit JoeDavisPoetry.com to book, connect, and learn more. 

1 reply

  1. Thank you, Joe Davis, for sharing your gift and your grief.
    I found this line particularly moving in light of events this week.
    “It felt like a part of me bleeding,
    like every part of me leaving—
    even the God I believe in.”
    And yet you gift us some hope that we may need to “wash, rinse, and repeat”

    Peace be with you

    Like

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