Saturday, January 5, 2013

An Epiphany Poem


In the golden light of these gifts
Incense rises.
In those days when God was young
In the cowshed;
Then steward to that couple by the lake,
The water pots filled with water,
The water made wine.
Little boats on the Sea of Tiberius,
Like eighteenth-century virginals:
Simple: the sort of sketch Picasso would do
On his napkin to pay for his dinner.
Delicate crafts like musical instruments;
Old man Hermon over the lake,
And a meandering of currents down to Masada.
‘Will you come again, Jesus, and tell us that it’s true –
that it’s all true;
And we are not mere husks or empty shells
Cast upon that shore?’
There is life here,
I am under the velvet skin of it,
And the ointment with the purple,
The alabaster box and the woman’s tears.
I love, I think,
But I know not what I love:
Teach me, my God and King.
And when the twilight broods
Over Magdala and Cana,
Capernaum and the little house where once thou sayest,
‘Whether is easier to say, ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee, or else,
Arise, take up thy bed and walk’?’
It is the early spring now of thy healing
And the nervous flowers come with music:
I hear, O Sacred Head, and that
The duteous day now closeth.
I lie here in fear and ecstasy.
Remove, O Lord, the types and shadows,
The accursed figures of speech,
The lying similes.
Bring on the harpsichord boats and
The water pots of wine;
The golden light of the first gifts,
The sun, early, east of Jordan:
Frankincense –
And myrrh.

--Father Peter Mullen

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