Veronica. Her name rolled off my tongue. Like water. For one moment my thirst ceased, her lovely apron over my eyes flung in the manner a disquieted beast is comforted in a floodtide or blaze. Shy, she led me as though asleep in dray, whispering and shushing me into place. In the buckram my face had come away. Not young and virile, the eyes Nordic blue as in all the portraits I countenance where I am a mask of flaxen virtue and even my wounds are diaphanous; but swart, bloody, scourged, half-mad, spike-nimbus— Yeats' clairvoyant beast, slouched, androgynous.
A half phrase from Augustine has challenged and inspired me for a half century: “God is like the nature he made.” It appears as a virtual throwaway line, quoted in José Ortega y Gasset’s History as a System (1941), in which Ortega adds a flourish connecting ideas about God with ideas about humans: the human “likewise finds that he has no nature other than