I’m only going over Jordan,
I’m only going over home.
(“Poor Wayfaring Stranger”, trad.)
Truth be told, I hardly think of it,
the end of my roaming, except perhaps as sleep,
or when, longing for an end to all ending things,
I dream of new creations. Yet
the sum of my longing is not halfway close,
bound as I am by my weak desires,
and no more can I comprehend
what waits than a foetus knows what makes
such thrumming noise beyond the womb.
I only dip my feet in Jordan;
I must submerge myself and drift
away from all I think I know
to what I trust knows me.
Pilgrims, we return again to Jordan
where the old familiar waters flow;
As always we face the choice to enter,
awash in what we do not know.
Familiar the doubt, uncertain the prospect:
the promise declares like a quaking in sky,
yet how it transpires, our toes must encounter
and nothing ensures that our feet will stay dry,
only a dove and the voice of a father
and his story the same – ever ever.
An error in the typeface, no doubt:
a missing space between God and swept,
as in, a wind from God
swept over the face of the waters.
Yet, in that mistaken instant,
my mind glimpses God sweeping,
baptismal waves enfolding me, Godswept, swept up in God.
Was it like this, at Jordan,
or at Ephesus, when
the new baptism, greater than John’s, was proclaimed?
Was the wind from God sweeping
as Ephesian believers
were swept up in new life,
new spirit, new wine?
Were the rammed-earth floors soaked
to the soil with that drenching?
Did the waves of God flood
through all their old toil?
O to be Godswept again and again,
to taste the salt, or the sand,
of Godwaters enclose.
Safe on the shore, I need to be Godswept.
May mistakes like this sweep
all my wisdom to sea.