Your mind’s a rhizome and your head’s at sea.
Stray flotsam, jetsam drift in it; its roots
Run deeper than the ocean bed and shoots
Burst out of it, this way and that. The key
To tracing thoughts back to their unity
Lies not in system or in sticking boots
Into the wildness of your thought. The fruit
Will show the truth for judgment of the tree;
Meanwhile, your wild plurality of thought
Unsettles – let it. In your fragments, turn
To where one Word encompasses it all.
Within these blowing winds, the truth’s a squall,
But in my calm, confusion will be caught.
Disintegrate in me; to me, return.
If you really believe,
then the day
and the dull of its light won’t confine
the dimensions of sight;
you may look through the night
and see there
the promise of Life.
Do you really believe?
On your way
through the frontiers of darkness and time,
you may feel all your might
leak out into the night,
yet the Word
will strengthen your sigh.
Therefore – really believe
for you may.
Though you leap in the dark, soon the sky
will erupt with true Light.
That day, yesterday’s plight
will be silent
at Faith’s firm reply.
And He reigns!
He reigns in light and in quiet,
in death and in life,
in depth and in height.
He reigns in plenty,
He reigns in drought.
He reigns in our faith, reigns in our doubt
and nothing is too big for Him
who rose from death a shining King…
Put to death your anguished griefs:
the king who died now lives again
and all time’s tattered woes and fears
can no longer bind His faithful sons.
Our minds cannot contain
something so small, so
Universe sustained within –
a mustard seed
which sees the mountain,
sees despair beneath its foot
and says to it, Now move.
O God. The mountain blocks our view.
The heights have dizzied;
the depths distress.
Open your seed within.
Yes, the seas stir;
the Son, walking atop the waves, does not mind,
a sovereign treading the puddles of his soil.
We, quaking in the boat
or sinking with the self-consciousness of faith,
look aghast and fret. Teacher! The waves consume…
But see how He strides.
See the waves bend and break at His touch.
See Peter stand again, drenched in doubt, shaking with truth.
Do not be afraid.
He remembers we are dust, drifting atop the earth’s waves.
Watch and see: He does a new thing. Rise and believe.
When I first read Denise Levertov’s “Suspended”, it amazed me with the perfect way it blended the starkness of life with the delicate beauty of grace. You can read her poem here, in a wonderful post from CPX of their favourite religious poems, and here is my own response to Levertov.
Even So, Even So (After “Suspended”) No sense can receive the sense Of what it is that catches me; You sing of joy, joy, in your heart And I, sometimes, can know that joy, and yet It is not clapping which sustains. Hands that have no atoms hold me; Even so, even so, in their infinite, silent substance they Keep my frail floating self from All these chasms that it seeks.