When stiff and sore and scarred I take away my hand From leaning on it hard In grass and sand,. The hurt is not enough: I long for weight and strength To feel the earth as rough To all my length. Yes, these stanzas are about the hunger for sensation. Not just more touch, but more time.
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What is the difference between the stories we tell about ourselves and the actuality of our inner lives? He hesitates like a candle flame wavers: hot but fragile, already wrapped in the smoke that will signal its extinction. The difference between them is one of attitude and degree. And this understanding lets him create his own version of romantic yearning. But it has a road, and the consequences of that road.
Back out of all this now too much for us, Back in a time made simple by the loss Of detail, burned, dissolved, and broken off Like graveyard marble sculpture in the weather, There is a house that is no more a house Upon a farm that is no more a farm And in a town that is no more a town. Then make yourself at home. Weep for what little things could make them glad. Then for the house that is no more a house, But only a belilaced cellar hole, Now slowly closing like a dent in dough.
This was no playhouse but a house in earnest. And the poem famously concludes with a cross between a baptism and the Grail quest:. Here are your waters and your watering place. Drink and be whole again beyond confusion. This is to be expected.
The Road to New Creation
There I rest my case. Reading it, you feel that if John Ashbery were to write a Robert Frost poem, this is what it would sound like. Both poems rely on the image of an unreliable road that is imperfectly understood by its traveler.
For Frost, these lines were equally applicable to poetry, which some people would simply never understand, and which even good readers needed to approach in the right way. A poem, then, becomes a way to separate an audience into factions. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler.
Divided, we might say, by the road taken. Divided when the process of choosing gives way to the fact of choice. Used with permission of Penguin Press.
Created by Grove Atlantic and Electric Literature. More than that, it is not a dosed womb or tomb as in a narcissistic return to womb-like security and fetishness with self. Thus a spiral. As a spiral, it is clearly distinguished from a mere repetitive cyclical view of the universe—which Eastern philosophers sometimes espouse. The Jewish and Christian revelation is that human history, while spiral, has a direction. The direction is meant to be the increase of love-justice in the world.
It is rebirth, Resurrection. It is interesting that DNA, the basic ingredient of all life, is understood to be two ribbons in spiral motion. A double spiral becomes then the basic symbol of all organic living. To emphasize the need for the empty tomb as a primary Christian symbol is not to suggest that the cross has no role to play in the future.
In fact, a tomb presumes a cross. But there can be no question that, because the cross has played so one-sided and dualistic a role for centuries, it must be let go of in order to re-emerge in its fuller meaning within the dialectic of tomb-cross. One important symbol that the cross was meant to bear is the following: the cross is the cutting through of the ladder. When Jesus spoke of being lifted up and drawing all persons to himself, might the following not be implied: that he was to be the last victim of the ladder-powers?
That his crucifixion was meant to be the last erection of the imperial principalities? That his sacrificial death was to render the ladders of the world essentially useless and to expose for all their bloodthirsty reality? That life, not death, would reign? But that the new word for life would be empty tomb, primary womb, resurrection? In this way death is truly swallowed up in victory as the dying figure, Christ, was swallowed up in the tomb and Jonah in the whale, both to be regurgitated from the bowels of the earth and the great mammal, respectively.
Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell.
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On the third day he arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. There is only one way for Jesus to prove that he rose from the dead. He had to appear to people. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. As you can see in this passage, Jesus appeared to hundreds of people a number of different times.
The Final Act of Creation: A Poetic Way of the Cross
Being like Paul: When we look at these Bible passages, there is a question that comes to mind — why did Jesus stop making these appearances? It really is odd. Obviously Paul benefitted from a personal meeting with the resurrected Christ. Because of the personal visit, Paul could see for himself the truth of the resurrection, and he could ask Jesus questions. There is nothing to stop Jesus from materializing in your kitchen tonight to have a personal chat with you.
And if you think about it, Jesus really does need to appear to each of us. It is an important question for the following reasons:. There will be there as well a triumphant mass of his thanes. The souls of the holy will fare with their Master, when the Watchman of the People with a terrible convulsion will seek out the tribes of the earth.
The voice of the heavenly trumpet will be heard loud across the broad earth, and from seven directions the winds shall roar, blowing, breaking with the loudest voice, weakening and enervating the world with its storms, filling the creatures of the earth with fear.
Then will a terrible crash, loud, measureless, leaden and powerful, the greatest clamor of noise, terrifying to the people, be revealed. There the weary multitude of man-kind shall turn in their masses into the wide fire, where the destroying flame meets the living, some will go up, some down, filled with burning.
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Doubtlessly then the kindred of Adam will be there, filled with cares, lamenting, afflicted—a people wretched not at all on behalf of the small things, but for the greatest and most powerful miseries instead. Then all three together shall be widely seized by the whelming of a black fire, the swart flame: the seas with their fishes, the earth with its mountains, and upper heaven bright with its stars. The ravening flame with burn all three together at once, grimly and powerfully.
All middle-earth, pained so sore, shall lament at that notorious moment. So the greedy spirit shall search out the world, the ravaging flame felling the tallest buildings on the fields of the earth with the terror of fire, and the widely-known blast, hot and hungry for blood, in the entire world. The city-walls shattered shall tumble to the ground at once.
Saint John of the Cross
The mountains shall be melted, and the high cliffs as well, which previously shielded the land firmly against the waves, against the flood, firm and shore-fast, a foundations against the tide, the bouncing waters. Then shall every creature, beast and fowl, be taken by the deathly flame, the darkened fire shall be ferried across the earth, a welling warrior.
As before the waters flowed, the agitated tides, at that moment in the fiery bath the sea-fishes shall be burned—deprived of their swimming, every weary wave-beast shall be wasted, the water burning like wax. There shall be more marvels than any man in his mind can imagine: how the collision and the storm and the strong winds shall break this broad creation. The warriors will wail, weeping, roaring with weary voices, humbled, heart-sick, and humiliated with lamentations.
The swarthy flame will seethe the sins of the perished, and glowing coals swallow up their adornments of gold, all of the ancient treasures of the tribal kings. There will be outcry and sorrow, a struggle for life, weeping and loud cries by the heavenly clatter, a miserable tumult of mortal men.
1. Creation and Covenant in the Old Testament
Thenceforth no one stained by their sinful deeds shall be able to struggle to gain sanctuary, or escape the burning fire in any land, but that flame shall seize through whatever nation, grimly dig up and eagerly root out the regions of the earth, both inside and out, until the limbs of fire have burned up in its welling all of the smirches of this worldly impurity.
Then Mighty God shall come onto the famous mountain the King of the Heaven-Angels, and shine out holy amid the greatest host of majesty, wonderfully across the armies, the Sovereign God— and the best of noble multitudes shall sparkle clearly about him, a holy massed infantry, a blessed battalion of angels.
Within our inmost thoughts we shall be shivering with fear before the terror of the Father.