I see him, mariner Jesus, walking on corrupted waters of the Danube while down in silted depths lurk the unexploded bombs of lately wars; I walk out, hand in hand with the poem, crossing on the high redemption bridge, to earth corrupted by tar and concrete, where down in the darkly shiftless soil words crawl, eyeless and eager. Between sleep and day, light and black, I grow conscious of compelling truths— but something in the ego-wassailing of flesh compels me back to comfort, and something in the slippery eel-mud of the mind eases towards sleep, though always Jesus plods on over all the corrupted waters heading for the unforgiving hill, for his piercing cry of forgiveness out-into-the-outraged world.
He was up in the choir loft, tuning his pipes of the old century’s wind-pump organ; I heard taps and bangs on metal, strange half-throated off- notes, near-notes, puffs, sighs and cough-blasts;
and then he was playing—Bach, Buxtehude, Peters— it was a young Jehovah’s making, a bright hands-full soaring over oceans of soul-light, filling the chill of the chapel with a lush of breathing. Now, in my everyday listening,
for the poem,the music, I am Mary before the ash-soft fall of the messenger, I am John after the disappearance beyond the clouds; I listen to the silence beyond the thuck and thudding of a day’s importance, to hear the hum that figures
a countryside of darkness, the sounds of April whispering over into May, the thunder of apple blossoms dropping from the tree; I listen for the tune that my days make in the works of love, in the notes’ approximations to a symphony.
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