by John Evans
Exodus in summer
So far am I from the alter of my dreams,
So far from the lampstand of my youths’ gentle fire,
That I am prone to dwell in some nightmarish place,
Over-wondering at these scars which comprise the fragments of my memory,
The valleys of half-remembered doubts at supper,
Clasping the chalice ripe with the fruit of patience and a better peace,
Seeking your quiet voice in the stillness of my adoration.
For I would sooner be a doorkeeper in the vestibule of your house, Oh God,
Then dwell in the halls of glory doomed to fade.
For your crown of thorns is life unfailing,
Whereas these crowns of gold, the viper offers drip with lies so very subtle to the itching ear.
The mouths of the vain are as honey to the wayward heart,
And their voices are as soothing as silk to the unwary,
Voices of inequity I here dash to pieces on the adamantine rock of your real presence,
The rock that is your outpouring upon the tree of grace, the tree of pain,
Beneath which, I plant these verses for your consecration,
That they may bear a good harvest for your kingdom which is already sown in this in hungered soul,
Satiated in shalom at Eucharist.
I have come to the mountain of watchfulness, to the cloud of Easter and Sinai,
And my feet are as sore from the traveling as my pupils are from the glare which briskly flows,
From the sanctuary-candle in the midst of your tent of meeting,
In the midst of this secret garden of the chastened mind.
But through the parched sense, through the raw sense, your whisper enkindles,
The quiet thought from its threshold of being,
To give thanks where thanks is ever due,
To you, the author of each season, of each promise stored up in the treasury of this appointed life.
For you have come into the world that we might have life,
And have it more abundantly.
The Cry of a Child of David
In my stumbling in the dust, in the heat of the day, toward Golgotha stirring,
Let my eyes be ever on You, My God, and let my heart not fail me.
For many are my foes, many are those who would seek to gnaw my life to pieces,
Whereas you are the enduring rock of ages, the point which no hand of man or beast or unclean spirit may set asunder.
Great are you, the Holy one of Jacob.
Great are You, Oh Lamb of everlasting peace.
Into Your pierced palms, I commend my spirit.
Into Your Mothers’ tears, I submit my wounded imaginations for restoring.
For you are the hidden Manna, veiled in the Tabernackle for every age,
Shedding countless graces for the parched soul, for the pilgrim seeking unity,
With that joy which was yours from the foundation of the world,
With that joy which You, Oh Jesus possess with the Father coeternally,
Which you, in this sacrament divine now impart to me,
Toward Your rest that is Your Most Sacred Heart,
I bend my knees in gratitude for the paths on which you have summoned me,
For that narrow thorny way of brambles which is your healing love,
You’re saving love, your purifying love,
That yields to the kingdom evergreen, to the pasture of stillness where all hungers meet their conclusive warmth,
Where you are King of angels and of men, forever and forever.
Even so, oh thou New Jerusalem arise,
And lift these lids which have grown so heavy with sleep.
For my frailties are numerous,
But your grace, Oh city of salvation is greater still,
Which is the city of the Living God,
The refuge of the sojourner who pines for the Third Day,
For the morning that shall not come to a close.
© 2019, Anthony Stine. All rights reserved. You may reuse or copy this post by giving credit and providing a link.