Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Angel of Gilgal

Daniel, shepherd John's big-footed young son,
climbed the hillside out of the mist.
"Samuel," he shouts, "an Angel has come to Gilgal."

I was grazing my goats east of the pass
near town. It was kidding and a misery of work.
I was in no mood for nonsense.
What nonsense could the town folk be up to now?

"The angel said that we must make enemies
of the inhabitants of this land,
and that we must throw down their alters."

"Let the weeds throw them down," I said.
“And, don't tell me what other people saw,
tell me what you saw, Daniel."

"It was a pale light low over the people's heads,
not a strong light, not like the sun.
He spoke clearly, not in a big voice, but a mild soft voice,
and hoarse, as if speaking was unnatural.
But a flimsy looking figure;
as the sun was breaking through the mist,
his garments fluttered, and he made himself
look small to be against sunlight.
But they were all weeping at the sight,
walking all the way to Bochim.
And it's a good ways back, too."

"I'm afraid to ask, what had they been doing?"

"Worshiping in the poles in the trees.
That's why they were weeping.
They had done evil among the poles."

"You were not with them?"

"They speak so interestingly of arcane subjects,
and look, God has rewarded them with a sign!
They say this figure of a sweet light
will come down and stay with them
to watch over and protect them and warm them
when they are cold, and make life lighter."

"Daniel, your father has not given you work enough.
There is much work to do this time of year.
Go back to your father
and set yourself to your work.
You will suffer more than you know
to think as they do, and fall into such bad habits."

"I cannot help it," said Daniel. "I can't stop.
Come down with me to see for yourself."

"As if I won't hear enough of this all
my days. Whether true or a lie. Daniel,
go back to your people, and stray no more
till you are through with this. Go!"

"But it would be such a precious sight to think on.
An angel of the Lord come down!"

Having just kidded, a doe's throat rattle death.
The kids were huddled, big-eyed against the cold.
When is there ever the right time?
I covered them with hay and shreds of blanket,
laid them in a low spot under the harsh wind.
Seemed that the sky was brightening.
And I went down to see for myself.

Such was what I saw.
How could those frail wings stop our enemies' arrows,
such diaphanous nothing lighten our burden?
Then the sky opened, and the mist went away
and the sky was full of light,
and in the lilting evening we sacrificed.

The return was in a haze of sorrow.
All that was sacred abandoned us.
We were thus sick with darkness.
In our despair was profligacy in the poles
and giving way to fabulous rituals.
There was much I told no one.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Yeah, Sunday Works


On Sunday you crawl through computer parts
in a fever, misty-eyed, throbbing heart.
You pray, "Hope it works," to a motherboard,
four fans, sound blaster, EVGA video card,
Corsair power supply, 800 watt,
computer case with dragon on it,
CPU, GPU, MOSPHET and 16G RAM.
Out of the box these RAM,
gSkill DDR-3 800X smiling rip-jaws,
are etched with teeth like a shark's.

Now, in a madness of uncertainty plug it in!

On Sunday you overclock the CPU
to run Weapons of War Craft at 95 DPI.
You calculate lovingly misdirected forms
to be blown to perfectly modulated bits
against stonewalls also blown up in 3D
UHD 4K at 60 frames per second.
Body parts flying. Trashed landscape.
Jeeps smacked up. Burning ammo dump.

Papa! What are you doing? Kids... Church...
Family love...

"Don't bother me.
Can't you see,
I'm busy!"

From My Experience

No man can live without faith!
Faith makes real what can never be;
and faith makes stable harsh life's distemper.

In nature He has built His firmament,
which He permits His creatures partly to know.
He gives us numbers with which to follow chance.

But numbers are a notion, an abstraction,
an illusion He assigns equally to good and evil.
Numbers and chance, not knowing good or evil,

are innocent. He embedded them in nature,
which is careless toward you or who you are.
Numbers sum the live and they sum the dead.

They give us rules governing the starry spheres.
They rule the dooryard, waiting for the old Chevy
to rumble. They explain to us the natural order.

And sometimes, oh happy thought, numbers
work for us. But while lightening our burden,
they raise in the atmosphere an angst
and disturbance that threatens existence.


2.

Nature pursues the towering sky to darkness
and compasses the wind's deluge in hincty night.
Nature makes sleep and bright morning to awake.

But how can it be nature's business
to know whether we are well or ill, what hurt
has dropped on our heads, or even care?

Nature is blind to the mountain you have climbed,
what committee you rule, what invention you claim,
what discovery, or what rags drape your back.

Nature provides for the morning daffodils
and murky nights in which children are wrecked
speeding. But how wonderful is nature's garden!

We eat nature's vegetables and we thrive!
Where is the lack of bodies to mark the rhythm?
We march across the real from bump to bump,

daring the path in the murk bump to bump,
before we bump into the hole in the ground,
which is our destination sooner or later,
unknown when, unknown why, unknown how.


3.

Now comes our story to an end, whether surprising
or not. Do not demand a reason or proof.
What happens goes without reason or proof.

We muddle along, and after we are gone, so it goes
unto faith. When the starry real in the infinitude
holds up, though we perceive it not, that is God's work.

When the story comes to an end, that is God's work.
If the numbers add up or do not, that is God's work.
You have plenty to do other way, man, than doubt.

Forget your dreams of the darkness and starry spaces,
forget the dark souls, messengers between heaven and hell,
forget even what the old folks have warned you!

Don't worry whether correctly or not has passed
a life, or whether by some happening you wrecked
or blew it. Don't worry that you forgot the rent.

If you'd know any one thing,
whether that be enough to cure the restless soul,
know what your dooryards know. Not man but God
will instruct you if you need to know more.




Sunday, May 15, 2016

When you don't think about faith

When there's work to do, I don't think about faith.
Will faith instruct me when I plant my garden?
My hands working the moist, black soil instruct.

I hoe the soil into a mound to sow cucumbers.
I drop to my knees but not to grumble a prayer.
Sun and soil prays, making cucumbers good to eat.

The seed sprouts, pokes up, leaves unfurl,
yearn for sunlight. The stems, chaste and delicate,
stretch upward, and like youthful dancers

the plants capture nature's mysterious meter.
In August heat, tomato plants need to drink.
I drill deep so the roots are near water.

But I don't think about prophecy or faith.
I think how red and ripe and round the tomatoes
will be in the moist, black soil; if I'm lucky.

You can even build a high, new house.
Take one brick and cement it to another brick.
After enough bricks and works there is your house!
You tend your dooryard with works not faith.