Many fields, many treasures, many pearls (One chosen). Here, fish netted, many kinds, But singularity is not the point, The point is, good are kept, and bad destroyed. Are these the gentle Galilean’s words? If so, a strange form of gentility: The angels throw the evil in the fire, And there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. O, how we twist and turn and rationalize, Assured Matthew was victim of his time, And heaven’s kingdom never need be forced, And “way that leads to life” is easy, smooth. Shall we amend, then, the Apostles’ Creed: “To judge the quick and dead”? This we don’t need.
Isaiah saw the Word? I look up from Writ and am at first just—interested. How to see something spoken?
And yet one needs to think, and perhaps I’ve done so, of Word as more than Speech. I remember that the death
of beloved Uncle Peter left me, who had adored him, unable to rid my mouth of a clenching dryness.
It was hopeless cold, and I not alone, I’d bet, in fear that our notions of redemption would suddenly turn fiction,
betraying their comfortable weft as of the exact material of the emperor’s famous clothes; that we’d make,
despite our self-regard, fast plans to bulwark each other—and then forget them. Or rather simply ignore them,
sensing that they’d gone useless. . . . And it’s true that we’ve all of us scrambled, and shuffled, and worried! Money. Our kids’ educations.
How they’ll fare in the end. The kids, that is. And yet, by service’s end, our “fictions” regathered themselves—
Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Jerusalem!—
as if Peter had risen, spoken, even if by all measure he was silent, his ashes down in that box
and the topsoil loaded upon it. We could see he had spoken, and not in mere abstractions, though abstractions there were:
Honesty. Decency. Humor.
Less those, though, than his ancient barn-red dory, the one that he named “Sea Cow,”
which rode Champlain again, and the yuk-yuk-yuk of his laughter (by the living God, he did go yuk-yuk-yuk!)
sounding along the sandstone walls, and, yes, though we shivered, though ashes lay silent, we heard his handsome face
and the way till his 95th year he spread his arms in love and welcome and grace and died in a fitting peace.
His sounds glowed over the mountains to westward, like soft huge garments we might pull over ourselves before we found sleep.
Study war no more
Mar 18, 2011
Michael Izbicki grew up in a nondenominational church in California. A National Merit Scholarship finalist, he chose to go to the U.S. Naval Academy out of a sense of duty to his country during a time of war. At the naval academy he began to doubt whether the career to which he had committed himself could be squared with the tenets of just war doctrine. He got in trouble when he responded no to this exam question: "If given the order, would you launch a missile carrying a nuclear warhead?" After a four-year legal battle, the navy discharged him as a conscientious objector. Izbicki may have to reimburse the service for part or all of his education (New York Times, February 22).