"More later" ends her every note but "more" or "later" never comes so what is more I'll never know though later I can understand as weeks and months and years go by with many things still left unsaid as we creep closer to the edge, and after that who knows what's next? Though she might say oblivion, the body buried, dust to dust, I believe in things unseen, the mystery of something more, the thin place where two worlds meet, the numinous in roots and wings.
The forest floor bleak, choked with old leaves, winter wet. Against the evidence, buds on the wild dogwoods glisten, listen for a signal, lining up for bloom-time—when to burst and who'll be first? Every year, it's all according to weather, the wait for the heat-throb, wind fresh through the naked birch trunks longing to get green. The pressure's on, like listening for a starter pistol, finger on the trigger.
Spring is wound tight enough to let go any minute. Overarching the ravine, the cedars start their annual scatter of yellow sexual dust for the next generation. The clematis resists her tedium of cold and brown, cancels her winter sleep with a vertical thrust up the trellis, like a slow shooting star.
How can we help but hope, sprouts urged to fulfill a kind of promise— a covenant with the world that in unfolding, leaf tips flaring up and out, woody hearts pregnant with bloom and blessing, we will drink rain, light, heat for our emerald living. We face the sun full on—its lavish encouragement for cold to lift, shift, and move away. Holding on, ready for that shiver, a sliver of thrill like a jade thread through a labyrinth, when within us something fresh and green explodes.
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.
My sorrow's flower was so small a joy It took a winter seeing to see it as such. Numb, unsteady, stunned at all the evidence Of winter's blind imperative to destroy, I looked up, and saw the bare abundance Of a tree whose every limb was lined with snow. What I was seeing then I did not quite know But knew that one mite more would have been too much.
Kneeling on Boston Common it's this foot, naked, resting in my lap with clean towel, socks, warm water waiting, that tells me this is what happens after a cold winter of deep snow when you're homeless in dirty socks and cracked shoes that don't fit: this foot, bloody, swollen, toes deformed, I wash gently, first one, then the other, and never have I felt so close to Jesus, his feet, bare, pierced, bloodied, nailed to the wooden cross.
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).