New Year 2019 Reflections

The damp walls are closer than the stretch of her arm. 

There’s a stench of sea, and she floats alongside miracles 

of lobsters, crabs, creyvish, who swim and crawl 

in the ignorance of praise, not yet upright 

on the dry land of arrogance and doubt.

Her cell clings like a barnacle to the church,

where men in albs and chasubles shout of hell, 

while she does the real work, heeds the small 

voice of God in the darkness.

This is the space behind the boulder which will be rolled

away, the thick blackness in which trees take root,

where all that is to come seeds and quickens. 

Love is not the right word. Love is too cushiony

for a woman who sleeps on stone, kneels on stone, 

prays with the steadfastness of granite. 

It’s like staying awake inside sleep, this 

being allowed inside the mind of God,

a great cave of nothingness that knows everything,

just she and He together, as intense as if summer 

has been preserved in honey and she can hold it 

on her tongue whenever she needs some sweetness.

If she grows curious about what it is to be married, 

she only has to touch herself, and a sea anemone 

unfurls, opens until she knows she is nothing but water. 

But where a wife would cup her husband’s face 

between her hands, feel his bearded jaw hard 

against her palm, she has no need to hold the face of God. 

His eyes are on her constantly, washed with milk 

and fitly set. His head is filled with dew. And there is 

no word for the tenderness between them 

as they drop anchor for those crowded ships of fools 

who have forgotten why their souls embarked 

on this brief crossing of a life at all.