Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Th’ Holy Daye


 [Elfs ere a mite weary o’ cute “bowl full o’ jelly” holidaye rymz (and they can’t spale), so pleez bare with me, I’ll be doin’ th’ best I can.]




Somz o’ youz been very good,

         somz been more than questionable;

Somz o’ youz been very hopin’

         th’ question’ble iz neglígible.

Somz o’ youz been sendin’ cardz,

         somz been sendin’ prazents,

Somz o’ youz haz been on tyme,

         but mostliest youz hazn’t.



Now, this ol’ happy Christmas elf,

         a'lookin’ in th’ back,

Underneath me baseball glove

         and an empty birdseed sack,

Fynally found me cardz o’ Christmas,

         stor’d wyzely very near,

Someplace I’d forgot compleetly,

         by th’ end o’ th’ previous year.



So, youz ere probably readin’ this card

         a teeny, wee bit laight,

And wonderin’ why a jolly ol’ elf

         can’t keep me tymin’ straight.

Why can’t he cinch up a saddle and bellz

         on Rudolph th’ palomino,

Go to th’ mall, pick out some cardz,

         and have a cappuccino?



Well, let me offer all an attempt

         to make it christal cleer,

How an ol’ elf myte struggle to view

         with glee, this “hollydaye” cheer;

How th’ lytes grow oddly dim,

         and th’ eggnog densely flat,

Whyle gawkin’ at all th’ hullabaloo

         lyke on a tack he sat:



Listenin’ to th’ radio,

         whyle workin’ in me shop,

I heard an awful, dreadful phraze,

         me bellz a ringin’ stop’d.

It seemz a local mercantyle,

         ignorin’ anchent costums,

Had hyred “hollydaye” elfs to sell

         their hollydaye stuff o’ nostrums.



“Hollydaye elfs!?” I growl’d and shriek’d,

         a’fumin’ in a pique,

Knowin’ many a lass and ladd,

         would find th’ term oblique.

Youngunz ‘round th’ snowy world,

         hearin’ this drab depiction,

Ne’er would reckon th’ Blesséd Daye

         bringz Joy beyond description!



So I doff’d me pointy elfish cap,

         set down me elfish pype,

And, consecratin’ Christmas new,

         condemn’d th’ market hype.

“I yam a Christmas Elf!”, I yell’d

         ‘cross buzy Elfland town,

“(Altho’ me cardz iz somewhat lait),

         I yam no merchant’s clown!”



“No more shoppin’ through th’ stallz!”

         and I drew me family near,

“We will celebrait th’ mass,

         az th’ Holy Daye this year!”

 “But, what about me praz’nts?” ask’d

         th’ elf ladd o’ th’ house.

“We need no stinkin’ praz’nts”, I roar’d;

         him frozen az a mouse.



Then, forthwith, did I recall

         what were th’ praz’nts foor;

Why we bless th’ naighborz all,

         bring victualz to th’ poor.

We celebrait th’ graitest Gift

         and watch th’ darlin’ elflingz playe; 
We worship Mary’s little Ladd,

         ‘cuz Christmas iz th’ Holy Daye.

 

                                                   ©  2002 Ken Paxton

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Chasm



            An adventurous group of PMs (post-moderns) gather at a local tea house to discuss the meaning of air. One of them has a basketball and they all chuckle on recalling they at one time thought Bill Cosby was right. They debate this further and come to a series of conclusions.
            The first is that gravity only holds power over those who ignore it (like babies and animals), study it (like modernists) or fear it (like John Madden who will not fly in an airplane). Since they choose none of the above they conclude (or rather they agree together with an important sense of purpose and camaraderie) that gravity has no power over them.
            The second conclusion is that space (breadth, height, depth - the dimensional quality of reality we learn to measure with a ruler in grade school) is ruled by perception (e.g. English versus metric). They develop the view that space is neither English nor metric - these having quickly been discarded as obsolete grand narratives that continually oppose one another and remain mutually exclusive as proven by numerous cases of faulty conversions leading to the catastrophic failures of various engines of science and industry - as I said neither English nor metric ... but Elastic, sometimes contracting and sometimes expanding depending on the boldness of those determined to defeat its restrictive qualities.  This actually takes them quite some time as their initial consensus was that space was elastic depending on the temperature of matter within it. An older gentleman of considerable influence (and secretly a neo-modern Gnostic preternaturalist) is adamant that matter did not matter as evidenced by the almost random and illogical changes in the definition of the universe that man construed over the centuries: concentric crystal spheres, the petrified earwax of primordial giants (in a spiral universe actually comprised of the giant’s cochlea) or the back of a very large turtle. He vehemently asserts that matter is defined by space and furthermore it is man (who conquered space) that determines its real extent. His arguments are long, loud and mesmerizing until the others are deeply moved to agree with him (although they are troubled that his arguments seem to be too logical, but they do not admit this to each other). To summarize, any one space can be wide, long, deep, narrow, short or shallow simply depending on, and because of, one’s perspective.
            Lastly they conclude that air is essentially an elastic solid. This takes very little discussion at all, which frightens them as it almost seems a self-evident truth, and that is the subject of a typical nightmare for them (“Billy”, scolds their mother, “you have to use your head, no one can use it for you. If you go to school in your underwear, people are going to laugh at you.”). PMs are uncomfortable with something that is clearly objective truth. Truth that results from direct observation cannot be separated from the bias of the observer (standing on the ground we conclude the earth is flat, but floating in outer space - air stretched beyond its yield point - we can see it is spherical). This bias is always present. Therefore one person’s observation is no more valid than another’s misconception.
            Nevertheless, having come to such startling fresh views about air and so on, they order a last round of Chai tea and cranberry scones, and toast their success. With effusive exuberance they agree to demonstrate the validity (a pesky habit from their modernist past) of these conclusions that very day. Brushing away the crumbs they proudly stride off to gather friends and families. As they proceed through the village a crowd assembles with gleeful anticipation of discovering what illuminating new framework of thought has been forged. They labor up the hill outside town and down the other side, enjoying a jaunty hike through a shady forest and the glade beyond that ends at a precipice known as the Leap of Faith. The grassy ledge gives way to a chasm about 200 yards wide, through which the Laughing River splashes merrily along a quarter mile below.
            This band of merry fellows explains to the crowd what distinctive notions they have delineated, the oration of the old gentlemen in particular bringing the audience to a rousing cheer. They now proceed to the chasm’s edge and pronounce that since space is elastic, the chasm is no more than a few feet across.  Furthermore, since air is matter and since gravity is powerless over them, they will walk to the other side without so much as getting their feet wet. The townspeople gasp and clap and cheer wildly, all except one little girl.
            Her somber face stops the merry making when she walks boldly to the front and picks up a rock. She makes her way to the old gentlemen who greets her with a smile and asks, “Did you want to join us in our momentous walk today, young lady?”
            She replies, “Well, Sir,” as she hands him the rock, ”if you are able to make your considerable self walk across this chasm without getting your feet wet, then surely you will have no trouble throwing this rock to the other side, as it must be much less taxing on air and space than you. If you are successful in doing so I should be very happy to join you this day.”
            “Hmm,” says the old fellow scratching his chin thoughtfully, “I believe this rock will have no problem reaching the other side even by just rolling along over the air, it being only a short way and the air being of significant volume.” Wild applause breaks out all through the crowd and the proud band of men at the edge clap each other on the shoulders as they prepare to make their crossing.
            The older man sets himself to release the rock like the bocce bowler he is, and everyone holds their breath. He draws back his arm and swings it gently forward not in the least trying to fling the rock any great distance. It falls immediately, hits the side of the canyon, knocking one small rock and another, and these in turn loosing larger boulders, until the whole side is smashing downward with a roar and a billowing cloud of dust. All of the people run to avoid getting swept down by the crumbling chasm wall until they are well back into the forest, coughing and sputtering from all the dust and fright. After the crashing thunder stops the resilient air begins to clear. They become silent in their disbelief and creep back to see what this rock that failed to roll across the air has done. There at the bottom of the Leap of Faith is a tremendous smoking mound of earth and stone. The Laughing River is laughing no more.
            Some are already thinking of an appropriate name for the lake that will soon build up behind this natural dam. “Fools Lake” is a name that occurs to more than one of the shocked and grimy townsfolk. They look for the old gentleman and his band of merry thinkers but they cannot be found. Meanwhile the little girl has wandered off to the top of the hill behind the forest. She is scattering tiny parachute seeds of dandelion which climb in the breeze, drift over the trees and across the chasm. She knows what air is for.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Dig Here Said the Angel - latest album by Daniel Amos



Disclaimer

This is not a review because I am not a critic. But I am critical, and picky as old grumpy men often are. Most of these opinions are underscored by personal exigencies of the moment, be they digestive, post-prandial somnolent, restless legs disordered or globally acute & non-sensorial in nature. So the most these notes reach for is to be respectfully amusing, honestly appreciative and more than a little unapologetically bombastic and presumptuous.



Executive Summary

<> Really like Terry’s voice throughout, better than ever before… nice work TST.

<> An amazing and exuberant collaborative work.

<> The entire album is transcendent.



Huh?

Took some time to catch the latter and to ask myself, “what do I mean by transcendent?”  I don’t mean an escapist, post-modern leap into upper-story metaphysics. I mean that even when a lyric poses as personal, it never leaves us out in the chicken coop to fend for ourselves. We can include ourselves in the experiences of the narrator every time without that being a force-fit. A transcendent album is rare, wonderful and inviting like a twenty-first century book of pilgrim’s psalms.



Onward to the Songs

Now at first I’m a bit startled. When I am a little sleepy (98-99% of the time) and click on Play, my brain’s default expectation is Sgt. Pepper’s… can’t explain it, that is just what happens. With the opening guitar and intimate vocal I suddenly find myself in Mr. Buechner’s Dream which is quite disorienting. I hate being in someone else’s dream. So after lifting the needle and checking the label I see the singer had a mishap with his transmission: Forward in Reverse, a common senior moment. But by then Mr. Buechner’s Dream has musically boarded the Magical Mystery Tour to end up lyrically Driving in England… very jarring but it keeps Getting Better, chocked full of Mr. Taylor’s turn of phrase, leaving me to wonder is this a different angel who lied or the same one supervising the excavation?



Jesus Wept contains one of my favorite lines on the CD, “They mounted up like eagles, now they’re dropping like flies..”. Reminds me of my dad some years ago, revealing one of the nuances of becoming truly old, lamenting how he had had outlived all his friends. Instead of a typical chorus the verses end with the song’s title, a plain reminder of the cost of Christ’s redemption (His broken humanity) followed by a lyrical pause as the guys move us through pleasing chord progressions and into the next stanza. There’s a matter of fact beauty in this song, “for not all tears are an evil” (Gandalf), and we will yet dance.



The title track sounds like it reaches into the decades when I lost track of Mr. Amos and his amalgamated buddies. By this point we progress from “we’s all gonna die someday ‘cuz we’re getting old and stuff” to a resigned “ok, I’m dying”. By now it’s apparent even the kitchen sink may be employed for seismic sonic effects before this is over, and what cosmic splashes of magma they be. (A quick agreement with others who’ve suggested listening with headphones, and I would add: set volume near 10.)



Then the lonely hearts club puts on their (Our) New Testament Best and we discover there is mercy enough for all the old men dancing the waltz on Pablo Fanque’s flying trapeze. Is mercy the key to Christian unity? Ask the guys on the trapeze.



Enough mercy for another song: Love, Grace and Mercy. Another one of the more straight ahead DA rockers we love. After one of the most rapid-fired lyric lines in history we end up on our knees and begging for more. By the end the bells and angel chorus take us into the inner sanctuary.



Then we evolve to… dead. Terry emphasizes Now That I’ve Died in a way that is more than effect. He means it. This not a nod to punk-headed imitators of ancient rock monsters. This is an essential statement of essential meaning in a repetitive essential manner by which essential absolutes are reduced to their essential purity: “i dead, u dead – let us not kid ourselves, we’s all dead.”. Do you hear the jingling reference to Like Lazarus followed by the old feller’s ghoulish guitar lick? And whence that falsetto chorus dancing about like cherubs? Methinks a reprise of the impish King’s Kids. FYI Lazarus, though sometimes unnamed, is repeat offender throughout the CD. And, yes Uncle T, we hear the less than subtle reference to posthumous renown… still looking to the mercy.



Midstream we might think the Shotgun Angel has journeyed to Abbey Road singing  We’ll All Know Soon Enough along the way. This opens with an unsettling stroll through trolling rolls and icy tremolos that lead me to think, “I’m not in Kansas anymore.” A childhood buddy of mine once said he thought when we died, all we would see is a sign that says “This Is It” and then ‘click’ nothing… an easy adolescent cliché to avoid thinking of what else might be there. But here DA forces us to consider the questions we might ask in that microsecond between death and epiphany… with a majestic gothic guitar theme like a soundtrack to a film by Edgar Alan Poe. Kept looking over my shoulder and expecting to catch a glimpse of the Hound of Heaven. This is vying to be a personal favorite.



Waking Up Under Water – Hans Zimmer? Is that you and Captain Jack dancing in your tricorns and breeches across the ocean floor? No! It’s Mr. Chamberlain, who has fallen off the moon to find himself under the reality of reality. Another straight shooting rocker me likes, with a bit of thunder from legends who were Born to Be Wild on their way to Kashmir. This one gets the hook of the year award.



A hero sometimes declines rescue so he might become a greater servant. The Uses of Adversity is the plain request of such a plain hero. Classic DA colors intertwine around this ballad of grounded and timeless wisdom from an elder brother.



Ruthless Hum of Dread plays out like a poem accompanied by music. Well sure, what TST song doesn’t? I say this one does more than many, and the production reflects that when the instruments drop out entirely for a few lines, a technique found elsewhere on the album. Terry might just as well have been cloistered in a smoke filled Greenwich Village café with Ed on bongos... well ok, toms. But sweet release comes in the last verse: not even dread’s awful grip on our innards in the middle of the night can stand up to death’s entry into Life. “Ruthless” ends with the lads having a bit of ambient fun.



On the last song Terry glides into a Lennon-esque older brother’s assuring voice, a nice sound for the good Uncle, and the song’s opening feel is not unlike Lennon’s Imagine, as well as the more prominent piano. Soon comes the triumphant, spiraling guitar break that parts the clouds and bam! The Sun Shines On Everyone launches into an anthemic declaration – a great arm in arm chorus fairly exclaimed by brothers and sisters across the world, and cheered by angels across the sky.



Of the Players

Mr. Chandler is the only multi-personality bass player ever encountered. Who else might start two songs in a row with the same “baWhoom” growl, and don’t we just love it? Check tracks 5&6 – what’s fun is the baWhoom uses the same notes but leads to a different key. His understated bass lines dance around the song’s roots like gnomes in Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” until they erupt in furtive snarls, then crawl back into their troll caves to ravish the shadows again.



The other day I caught the end of a Radiohead song while switching between stations… and thought, “wow, that sounds like Mr. Flesch doing yet another ghost-apocalyptic, six-stringed nuclear train wreck…”  That wouldn’t have been my thought if I hadn’t listened to “Dig” a few times already. Where does all that come from? Perhaps it’s best not to… dig too deep. Not here, anyway… awesome.



The guitar and keyboard layers would have made the sixties psychedelic crowd soar… higher? Is it just me, or aren’t these marvels of twenty-first century engineering inspired by their analog counterparts from that era, finally liberated from the squeaks and squeals of the iron age? Keyboards? Enough to fill the Albert Hall. Mr. Watson and related digital masters excel throughout.



Steady, they say. So is a fine automobile. Sure you can be blasted by a reckless, throaty, smoke belching monster, but if you want to transported through a crystalline range of alpine peaks and emerge the better for it, you’ll do well to dwell on the punchy metrics of Mr. McTaggert.



In Summary

Clearly the album prompts the entreaty, “Uncle Terry, you’re scaring me. All this talk of death! Please go on tour asap and dispel these lingering images of your ravished skeletal fingers clutching a shovel like the neck of your favorite ax.” Ah, but it is clear, dear one, why you’ve taken us along this macabre road:  my moldering soul will pass through a grief, a corpse, a tomb… but it is not a lost, unintended path. Instead it’s the liberating transfiguration traced across my heart by the tip of Jehovah’s finger. Thank you for digging through a formidable subject, and “painting the grace you’ve been given” so we can see it too.



I don’t know enough about good production quality to recognize it even when it parts my  hair, splits my skull and embeds itself between my disparate left and right brains. Which is precisely what happens when you leave this CD spinning for hours on end in your headphones. Left and right fight each other to catch that last shimmering flash that went by. Hah! So what do I not know? This thing is smashing good! It seems every track braids iridescent rays of gold and platinum, rare earths and a little dirt, into an illuminated manuscript of smoking incense. Mr. Daugherty & crew leave no stone unturned, no hole undug in their Search for the Lost Chord, fill, harmony, and aural brilliance.



My ironic eardrums are turned inside out.

I've been dug to the core.

You’ve kil’t me DA.



Philippians 3:8-14

3:10 “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…”





Ken Paxton

July 4, 2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Legacy of the Unknown Soldier



Our pastor preached on “Leaving A Legacy” today and mentioned listening to taps at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. So I wrote more than I listened…

There are two kinds of anonymous battle casualties to me. There is one whose whereabouts are known at the time of his death, but the means of his sudden departure from this world removes all trace of remains, whether to the wind, to the ground or to the sea. Then there is the more typical idea of an unidentified body placed in an unmarked grave. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is also called the Tomb of the Unknowns. It represents all military branches, women as well as men.

We could ask, however these souls lost their identity, what might be their legacy? How can those whose “floating” tanks sank beneath the English Channel on June 6, 1944 because the swells were too high, sending them to imminent death without hope of rescue who never fired a shot in battle; how can they leave a legacy, as badly as we all would want that for them, i.e. to not die in vain? What might these unknowns say about their legacy to us standing at the Tomb?


I AM NOT HERE IN THIS TOMB  STOP  MY FLESH MOULDERS IN A MEKONG RICE PADDY  STOP  MY BONES SWAY IN IRONBOTTOM SOUND  STOP  MY RIFLE ENTANGLES THE ROOTS OF BELLEAU WOOD  STOP  MY CANTEEN WATERS VIRGINIAS BLOODY SOIL  STOP  MY POWDER HORN HIDES WITHIN THE ROCKY HEIGHTS OF GUAN  STOP  MY EMPTY MEDIC SATCHEL DECAYS IN A DITCH NEAR OSAN  STOP  ONE BLASTED BOOT OCCUPIES THE RUBBLE PILE OUTSIDE FALLUJAH THE OTHER IS STILL SCATTERED OVER THE GRAVELS OF KANDAHAR  STOP  I AM NOT HERE IN THIS TOMB  STOP

O GOD MAY PEACE BLOOM WHEREVER AMERICAN BLOOD SOAKED THE SOIL IN EACH ENDEAVOR TO FREE A PEOPLE FROM OPPRESSION AND TERROR  STOP  MAY THOSE WHO STILL BREATHE GUARD MY LEGACY AND BRING IT TO LIFE  STOP  THIS TOMB IS NICE BUT PEACE AND LIBERTY ARE OUR WORTHY MEMORIALS  STOP

YOURS TRULY,
THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER
MAY 26 2013


For the curious, some notes on the references above:
Mekong of course refers to the Mekong River Delta, the location of intense combat for years during the Vietnam War. This starts with Vietnam because it was my generation’s war. Sadly every generation gets one.

Ironbottom Sound is what the Allies renamed the Savo Sound north of Guadalcanal because about twenty five of our ships were sunk there in terrific WWII naval battles.

Belleau Wood is one of the first major battles fought in WWI by American troops alongside our Allies.

Virginia’s Bloody Soil is the name of a Civil War song, used here in recognition that about half of all casualties from both sides occurred in that state.

From Wikipedia, “The Heights of Guan was the New York colonial era name given to a series of hills which extend in a ridge along the northern portion of Long Island.” These were used as a natural defensive line against the British in the Revolutionary War. The Battle of Long Island was the biggest battle of that war.

Osan is the name of a small town in the northern part of South Korea. From Wikipedia, “On June 5, 1950 a U.S. task force of 400 infantry supported by an artillery battery was moved to Osan, south of the South Korean capital Seoul, and ordered to fight as a rearguard to delay advancing North Korean forces while additional U.S. troops arrived in the country to form a stronger defensive line to the south.”  Highly recommend their article on the Battle of Osan to understand a little of the terror our troops incurred there. These 400 with no tanks faced about 5000 with 36 tanks. The article continues later to tell of our retreat, “2nd Platoon, B Company, however, did not receive the withdrawal order. When the platoon discovered that it was alone, it was too late for an orderly withdrawal and it could not move its wounded quickly enough. Most of the survivors were able to escape captivity but a number of wounded litter-borne U.S. soldiers were left behind along with an attending medic. The American wounded were later found shot to death in their litters; the medic was never seen again.”

Dexter Filkin was an embedded reporter in Iraq and Afghanistan. His book The Forever War opens with the Second Battle of Fallujah, according to some our bloodiest battle in Iraq.

Kandahar is in Afghanistan which breaks our hearts day after day after day.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Fade Not Again



Listless soul of mine,
            you dig so hard in the earth
                        to find substance,
            you search so desperately among dark corners
                        to see beauty,
            you listen so intently beyond tumults
                        to hear truth.
Soul of mine follow this short journey
            through time,
Remember!
He hung over the earth
            ever so briefly,
                        like His Spirit hovered over the waters
To give life where there was none.

Approach the cross as darkness falls,
            their work is done,
            His just begun.
Odors of old sweat, broken earth, and woody rough-hewn beams
            clog the air.
Cold are you at the cross,
            it is cold, drab and silent.
            Silent,
                        but for the murmur of the crowd stunned
                        into quiet shock by the extinguishing of the mid-day sun.
But why cold?

Darkness and Death!
            I smell it like the butcher shop floor,
                        chill and damp.
Trembling soul, kneel at the foot of the cross,
            The Cross.
Before you, this splintered timber
            stuck into the rocky ground speaks
                        of horrid torment and destruction.
Feel destroyed?  You are.
No angel choir, no shouts of praise -
            just muffled blackness and destruction.
My soul, He is dying for me, dying for me.

A torch flares not far away;
            shadows dance about His feet
                        like demons leaping, taunting.
Dumb resignation to callous fate,
            always callous,
            once again, old soul,
                        never hopeful;
Hand of mine buried in loose soil
            fingers digging
Angrily grasp dirt and clods,
                        crush them together;
Release the cross!  Release Him!
            I cannot bear it!

“I have and you will - for it is finished!”
            a breathy, gasping, forceful whisper
            from the cross,
From Him.
NO!  Not this!  This is not supposed to be real!
Soul of mine you thought
            this was a journey for good people,
Spending calm Sunday mornings
            singing and praying and worshipping with uplifted hands.
No pain, no sorrow, no death… but no life either;
Just neat, clean little “lives”
            tucked into padded pews (like coffins)
                        so securely no nasty world could find you.
No cold rain on your head,
            or thorns penetrating to your skull,
No bones scarred and
            sinews pierced by ragged iron spikes,
No failing heart rent within your chest
            by the desecration of
                        you,
            Alone.

Dirt filters through fingers like sands of time,
            time’s run out.
Not poor in spirit, but bereft of life!
            “What is twisted cannot be straightened.”
Trembling fist rises,
            crumbs of ancient earth
                        fall upon my head,
                                    dust to dust;
            bits and pieces of joys hoped for,
                        wreckage of new earth.
Look, my soul, through the dim dust falling,
            see the brave feet of my Holy Savior,
                        crushed for my sins, bloodied, dirty,
            so full of pain
                        for me.
A crimson, shimmering drop of Him,
            His life,
                        shed life,
                                    life in the blood,
                                                blood of the Vine,
Slowly releases from His foot and falls toward me,
            falls for an eternity of time,
            gleaming with holy light,
                        a glowing, garnet ember descending.
Nearing, its emanations
            illuminate bloodstained stones
            at the foot of the cross; 
                        leaping shadows dance no more.
Twin seraphim proclaim triumphantly in the distance,
            “Behold, the Lamb that is slain,
            For by His stripes are  you healed.”
Look, O Soul, there! And see
            that drop shed for me
            spatters the earth like an exploding star.
Luminescent, glorious rays,
            refracting from His precious blood,
with the power of a thousand suns
            slam into me!
“Elutriate, irradiate, this dingy soul of mine,
            Glory of Heaven,
                        Living Water.”
Soul. . . turn!   Turn!
            Turn and see -
                        the Cross is abandoned. . .
What now ?!


Beside me,  a footstep crushes
            the ruptured earth;
A Radiance, irresistible,
            ceases my shivering.
“My Lord!” 
Soul, take His hand. . . now!
            He raises me up. . .
“Lord, can it be?”
“The work is done.”
“I thought. . .”
“I know.   Do you feel the warmth of My hand?”
“Like. . . fire.”
            He is burning me.
“All is well, it burns only death, life is rekindled.”
Warm breath,
            like a summer’s eve breeze
                        that sets the leaves to dance,
Incense of Heaven across the earth.
            Rose of Sharon, sweeten my soul.
“O Savior, sweeten my soul.”
“Receive the Spirit”
            Healing, wholeness,
                        Soul, rejoice!
            Lord, my Brother, never let me go blind again.

“O Pure Light,
            enshrined in holiness, inextinguishable,
Heal my vision,
            remove the shadows from my murky heart,
And let not the agony of Your suffering
            languish as legend again.

Let Your agape infuse my soul
            with light for others,
                        bound up in drear and dusky deserts.”

“My friend, here is all the relevance,
            here the Cross,
                        the crux of essential meaning you seek:
            My blood, for yours, transfuses
                        your heart with Mine, My Substance;
            My holiness, ever brilliant and changeless,
                        becomes your Beauty;
            My Spirit, no less certain,
                        counsels eternal Truth.
Look - all is won!
            Behold,
                        Believe;
It is finished,
            Come, rejoice with Me.”

Joy, O Joy!
Faith of our Fathers, veritable;
Glory of my Savior,
            Glory, Majesty, Power -
                        ring forth like steel on stone,
                                    declaring eternal hope.
Soul of mine, fade not again,
            let Him raise you from the crushed earth,
Complete in Him is your journey,
            for all time;
                        come home.
                                                                        . . . by Ken Paxton