The Tension of Vision

Friday, May 21, 2010

Two quite different poems, yet both reminding me of the tension within our vision, of that deep conflict of the 'now and not yet.' The yearning for a heavenly perspective. The straining of one 'yet earth-bound mortal.'

I stood a mendicant of God before His royal throne
And begged Him for one priceless gift, which I could call my own.
I took the gift from out His hand, but as I would depart
I cried, "But Lord, this is a thorn, and it has pierced my heart.
This is a strange, a hurtful gift, which Thou has given me."
He said, "My child, I give good gifts and gave My best to thee."
I took it home and though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore,
As long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more.
I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace,
He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face.
(Martha Snell Nicholson)

Do I watch the gulls blow,
the wind flinging go over and
under the remnants of air?
Do I callously know
the fierce thrill of Your singing
and yet choke on the chill and stare
at the smudges of concrete and smoke?
O soaring O flailing and flipping
the breeze, O silver in swinging
the currents and space - you poke
at my knees, at my sinews of stone,
at my turf-sunk jaw, my self-pitying
groan. O! bursting grey visions
O! torrents of dust, you scavengers
thirsting and twirling, pursue
the alluring frictions of joy.
Do I watch the gulls toss,
stretch back the glum clouds and
tease at the snow-starched sponges
of white? Do I sigh to my loss
and sneeze at the tickling, prickling,
piercing bright blow: O my sight cannot go,
cannot up that way wind,
when I seek what I seek,
what I seek I still find.
(Yours Truly)


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