Those who trust little tend to love not much larger,
But you have proven the exception to the rule
With a heart that seems not to close itself off,
Despite learning lessons that would have silenced others.

You carry insecurities born from years of such schools–
From childhood, your teachers taught you to think less
First of others, perhaps, but the lessons soon turned inward,
And turned inward, outward appearance gained new import.

Consciously, you tried to refuse ces nouvelles morales,
Leading a self-charged revolution contre la mode
A self-imposed rejection of material importance–
To be a living standard of rebellion against your own beliefs.

These beliefs you hold, you do not deeply cherish,
For they draw attention to an ever-growing sense
Of your ever-diminishing love of self
Even while your love for fellow man survives unscathed.

More successfully than others, you have taken in worldly voices,
Convincing yourself of their emanation from the inner self,
And fallen victim to your own reproachfulness and censure–
A greater critic of self than any other might have been.

For what in comparison to the world can you be rebuked?
For which quality would I think you unsuitable, inadequate?
And yet you have learned your lessons all too well,
For when I tell you there is none greater, you only demur.

The lies in your life have also been truths told cheaply.
Words may lose their value with time and inattention,
As you’ve learned when others valued initial feeling
Over abiding joy–over deep roots and solid foundation.

Would that I could portray myself as worthy of your trust,
But then the gifts I offer are not all so rich as to merit it.
What could I give you but honest feeling and mere belief?
What could I offer that could mitigate the great risk?

For I have sold my words cheaply to others before you–
Guilty of the same crimes that brought you to this place,
And though forgiven, my rehabilitation remains to be proven
By one willing to take the chance on an undeserving parolee.

Alas: parolee–one who gives their word–an ironic phrase
In my case and yours, for whom words have healed and hurt,
Given hope and taken it away, offered life and given death–
And yet you know that words are all I have to give in this place.

Take my words and give them value–take them into your heart–
Or dash them against the rocks of your mind and sift them as sand–
But take them, for they are all I have to give, and I must give to you
Something–the most valuable thing I have left: my own cheap words.

But words can turn into promises, and promises may become truths,
One day, some day–not too far off, and yet not close enough.
But hold on to my words, and if you cannot believe them now,
I only beg you to wait until you can consider me worthy of trust.

Then we will both learn new lessons from one another,
Lessons in grace no others could yet have taught us.
Then may my promises of words become security in truths,
And I will repeat them over and over, all of your days.