I. For the space of a dream
For the space of a dream all nature holds its breath,
Transfixed, to witness: to behold the city’s strange transfiguration –
City of concrete and commerce transformed to heaven’s gold by sunset’s alchemy,
Canary Wharf converted to a glowing temple, banks and businesses to royal courts,
Bedecked in bridal beauty, porphyry and jacinth, chalcedony, chrysolite.
And through the clear air I see for centuries, across divides of time and space
And I could touch the towers of Tyre and Babylon, could reach the heights of Zion.
The light shines through from heaven, and the city is redeemed – made new.
Creation holds its breath,
And I hold mine.
II. The new night
The world surrounding me – the flying sky above,
The sleeping ground beneath –
All wonders. Each its own reality, its very, breathing self
And each yet more – a living, pregnant cipher: symbol: sacrament
Of greater truth and beauty shining through its stained-glass hues,
The river-glitter sweeping time and loss away below me,
Richly-broidered canopy of sky stretched out above;
The lights in people’s hair and eyes of passing strangers –
Fellow pilgrims, waiting here with me –
These plants breaking the concrete – clichés all, yet minted new
In this pure moment. Glory, glory be to God
In this new night’s rich lines, in flights of common starlings,
Lights of cars and windows, street lamps – all much more than palaces.
The garden needs no fire-flies or fairies, true;
Yet nonetheless they come
If you will see.
I write the occasional poem when the mood takes me, and some of them seem appropriate for this blog. This two-part one comes from two ‘sacramental’ moments on my journeys home from work when God’s heaven seemed to shine through all the earthly things around me.
The ‘jacinth, chalcedony, chrysolite’ line is a reference to the heavenly city of Revelation 21. The garden/fairies line is a reference to the well-known Douglas Adams quotation: “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”, which I believe spectacularly misses the point on a number of levels.