Like the Dampness of Faith

I brought these to read Friday in a weekly group meeting (a salon, we call it) but we didn’t get around to our readings, which were to mark Easter and spring, rebirth and reawakening, the miraculous. The first one is mine, a piece of a nine-part metanarrative poem; the second one is by Mary Oliver.


“Recognise what is in your sight,
and what is hidden
will become clear to you.”
(The Gospel of Thomas)

I imagine that an animal, Jesus, lives,
eternally, every moment,
and so can I.

I imagine that
when he lived in that body,
he desired and loved beauty, justice, and grace
as God does, clear-eyed, broken-hearted,
suffering with, and in suffering, healing;
living with, and in living, knowing;
giving voice to, and in giving voice, awakening compassion for exiles, cast-offs, the blind and begging;
those without homes, those fleeing, those trapped;
adulterers, widows, children, smokers;
people who couldn’t let go: of money, rules, assumptions, equations, fears;
dopey disciples, me.
Seeking in every moment to restore peace
in a world shattered
and well-ordered by murder;

I imagine that
when he died, he made space in himself
for those who hate him;
aware of our true, obscuring ignorance,
our “cloud of knowing” that sticks and strives,
stumbles over the same shadowed stoop,
so little practice with anything
other than lies: that destroying evil brings peace,
that fighting violence diminishes violence,
that I am not deserving, and neither are you,
that love has anything to do with deserving;

I imagine that
when he walked away from death,
witnesses told the story. Not their story,
but the story of the innocent victim,
accused, lynched, reborn,
which changes how I see what I do,
and then, sometimes, what I do.


It bears repeating:

“Recognise what is in your sight,
and what is hidden
will become clear to you.” — The Gospel of Thomas



Dampness, Moss, Stone
by Mary Oliver

Like the dampness
of faith
comes Spring;

every depression—
last year’s leaves packed down
into it—

is full now
of clear water,
the ripples

are multiplying,
the frogs
are gathering,

they are crying out,
and the moon
has come back

over the hills,
and everywhere you look
there are the heaviest stones

in unexpected places,
in fields,
against hillsides,

luminous in the moonlight,
moss and dampness, as of darkness,
still clinging,

as though they are messages,
as though they have just
been rolled away.




Featured image is the Scarlet Trail, in New London, NH, 23 May 2016

One comment

  1. Thank you for your words here… They remind me of you, why I hold you so dear; They also resonate with my own damp faith, what Easter means to me, a truth that resides in my soul. This has been a rather lonely day, but now that you are abiding, I feel joy too.

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