Rendezvous with God
I have looked everywhere for God,
from the time I was a child,
I’ve pursued a thousand paths
through the clearings of the years,
I’ve consumed a ton of delicious herbs.
At the end of the trail I would see a
flash, then it was gone—just a distant light,
a firefly in the April night.

Frustrated, yet victorious,
victorious, yet dismayed,
embraced by virtue and clasped by honor,
I soon discovered that honor and virtue are coquettes.
I tasted the world’s rejection, was stripped of
learned how to smile at bitter loss,
to guard the sweetest moment lest it be poisoned,
to learn that life’s wounds must be worn as medals or
(Diamonds are most costly when they have been
                abraded on every facet.)
In my despair—
living-dying in spirit and heart,
the flame of conviction
still persisted,
searching, tracking, inquiring
in whatever time or place,
the God of peoples
the God of nations
the God of all creation.

·    ·    ·    ·

I walked the fields,
the soil of affliction of the unnamed oppressed;
the muddy paths are hard to follow,
the feet fear splinter and mire
on the way to the grave-mounds of poverty
flung among the dry weeds.
I asked
and was shocked at the harsh answer,
savage and fiery.
For in my heart,
flickers the fear
that they have long since changed their horizons,
that the anguish of endurance has killed all hope;
hunger, sickness, debt
inherited forever;
whenever land, dearly loved, is tilled,
like the monster’s jaw,
it bites the benefactor.
Have they been renounced by God?
Then they will put their fates in the hands of another
justice is its name
justice   rice   clothing   house   land
reason   rights   liberty   liberation—
the claim of a life staked out.

·    ·    ·    ·

What place
does God inhabit?
What heaven and what continent?
What wilderness, rocky shore or mountain?
What field, sky or summit?
In what temple and altar, tabernacle or monument?
What lands have I not roamed?
What others have I not flown over
in the flight of dreams?
What fancies, what fantasies, what illusions?
Where’s God?
Why doesn’t he answer?
Has he forgotten man?
Has he fallen asleep in Aphrodite’s lap?
Has he no defense against Circe’s enchantment?
Dante, Virgil, guide me
to Utopia
to Nirvana
to Shangri-la
to Olympus or the empyrean!

·    ·    ·    ·

. . . because I am of Adam,
child of sin;
belief and doubt
are twins at birth;
the days dropped off like withered leaves, men
                        withered too;
winter with its bluster blights the spring,
the procession of seasons cannot be stopped.

In my mind the memory of what has gone,
returns and lives.
Now is my twilight filled with sorrow,
hands wrinkled, hair ash-gray,
blurred eyesight, heart that refuses to throb . . .
now, suffused with longing, kneeling
at the feet of a cross,
I cry God, God, God!
Silence alone answers
louder than a volcano’s thunder.

One sorrowful night,
all things, the very stars, weep,
tears shine like meteors,
the spirit is drained of faith and hope,
life is a pale flash struggling through by agony,
choking in the scornful dark.

. . . I heard a voice
speaking to my own spirit and mind:
. . . “You searched for Me
hunted in every corner of the world
except in your heart and soul.
. . . I am your conscience.”

A smile stirred on my lips,
I felt like a silly butterfly
who had flitted about
looking for loveliness and delicious scents,
and only when its wings were clipped recalled
that its wings are the twin petals of a flower.

O God
I am you and you are me
that which I pursued all the days of my life
in the far corners of the earth
lived all the while in the substance of my own heart!