The Chink in the Surface of Things (For Evelyn Underhill)

She had seen, abruptly, the insecurity of those defences which protect our illusions and ward off the horrors of truth. She had found a little hole in the wall of appearances; and peeping through, had caught a glimpse of that seething pot of spiritual forces whence, now and then, a bubble rises to the surface of things
(Evelyn Underhill, The Column of Dust)
The chink, that hole in the wall, perturbed her
as a child when she saw
revealed the world of truth exposed
through the fragile certainty
of these fixed and fragile things.
In bursts and puffs of mystery
she felt a knowledge of such things
as she could never truly know,
and longed, Plato-like, to escape
the cave of shadows, see the Real.
Her journey through the cloudy shadows
and between Cathedral walls,
gave her glimpses of such things that
made her resident between two
worlds, one moving, the other still.
If at times she missed the eye of Jesus,
shrouded in such mystery,
in a cloud of such unknowing
that she failed to see simply
that which was made fully known,
Then we learn to keep our eyes peeled
for such bursts of truth and knowledge
shooting from the Word, and turn
these hazy eyes upon the Truth;
and yet in this she gives us treasure:
To show that we, in this passing moment,
are citizens of that real world –
real flesh, real matter – still beyond us,
yet still close; not realised but perfect;
not seen yet palpable; and so
We hold our eyes up to the chink
and marvel with her at the world,
though known,
that goes beyond our knowledge
of these fixed and surface things,
and celebrate the hope that one day
We shall walk straight through the wall
and see and hear and burst through clouds
into full knowing;
let us think, at times, on this,
lest we see things all too simply
and forsake the mystery.

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