“Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble?”

When David’s son scanned
the spiritual wreckage that was His house
and delared, “Destroy this
and I’ll raise it in three days,”
He meant
what He said not as
metaphor – which my students all know
is a kind of lying, a hedging of bets –
but as Truth, both in symbol and fact.
Daily they destroyed this house, and He,
the true house, would raise it,
would turn dull rubble to praise Him.

And when palm branches waved
in Passover praise, and these
Sanballats of another age raved,
and He silenced them, likened them
to duller than stone, for stones
could be turned to a chorus of praise –
I wonder if He turned in mind
to Nehemiah, with
his sword and his trowel, who
knew certainly how
our best laid plans make the best laid rubble
until all our rubble
is animate, raised
and taught again
to praise.

Testimony of Earth

For this demon who harms men and corrupts them is particularly anxious that his servants not gaze up to heaven but instead that they be bent over to the earth and make bricks inside themselves from clay.
(Gregory of Nyssa, The Life of Moses)

At the moment of exhaling, he sanctified
the clay he shaped by his outbreathing, yet
sacred clay was only ever for shaping, not
to be shaped by. Instead
my eyes are always turned groundward and I
play in the mud pies of my mind despite
the heavenly witness that clamours for me with its voiceless speech
and, for lack
of willing human witnesses, rocks
clear stony throats to shout.