I do not expect to breach heaven (if there is some heaven beyond our good, green earth) via pearly gates, golden streets with searchlights searing the sky and something noisy from Handel blaring from the speakers.
If at all, the passage will be secretive and silent, a chink through which I slip, perhaps between the rosebud and its fragrant flowering, the moment when baton is lifted before overture’s first note sounds.
Rarely in gaudy glory of liturgy as Host is elevated, eaten, often in spring’s gentle uncurling, autumn’s downward spiral, I see a shadowy hand beckon, or hear a quiet voice calling, “This way. Slip through here.”
He peoples the darkness with stars: Eyes in all that vastness. He stores sunlight in his tabernacle Meting out each day enough to gladden The trees and moons with their changing Colors. Vestments over land and sea.
Space is a trellis in his garden. He scatters organelles, pods, bulbs, Protozoa, spermatozoa, ovaries All bursting into blossom. Every womb Awaits the coronation of its birth. Stone fruits and star apples.
The universe plays his tune-book. He breathes sacred airs Obbligatos, cantatas, Sephardic chants. The seasons speak through him: The timbrels of spring, the blare of high summer, Fall’s blue cello, winter’s gusty pipe organ. Angel rapture and our plainsong.
“An Engine against the Almighty” —George Herbert, Prayer (1)
We wrestle, gentle Jehovah, gentle beast, or rather ring bearer, keeper of dirt and sleet under streetlights. A kingdom, weightless, entrusted to the white palms of a child. A garden with a certain desert distance, an angel interference: this late-night duel. I know the sound of wind as well as I know the remnant of your footprint. Or is that the mark of my knees in the dirt?
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).