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Of Sin, Part III

We die, we only die, I said,
And life would not depart,
So bore he there our wooden claim
Amidst our darkest art.

Our chaos swelled to raucous rot—
Its tidal chant a din
Of acrid cracks, of whistling bells,
Frenetic in our sin.

And manifest! A spark—a flash!
Amidst the chorusing.
A sun, a weight of righteous light—
Transfigured was the king!

He rose upon his splintered bier
And lent a holy phrase
As blasphemy rose over him
To end his endless days.

Oh victory! Oh victory!
The sea sang in its glee
As drifting underneath the waves
Went Christ’s co-misery.

And as the king progressed unto
The shadow of the fall,
The light went out—the life went out—
And death was all in all.

In drunken reverie, it told
Of how it threw him down,
Debauched itself, and placed upon
Its head his holy crown.

And raising shoulders heavy now,
It plunged us there into
The blood and sweat of citizens
That sunlight never knew.

Then waters rushed upon our throats
To join their inky spring,
And darkness then…
Darkness then
Enveloped everything.

But then, an amber, flickered warmth—
A flint and tinder light—
Unstained the staining of the deep
And warmed our evernight.

A muffled rain upon the door,
A table and a bench,
A candle under shadows that
The shadows could not quench.

And breathing in the candlelight
Was he that wet his breath,
Whose starry word unsealed the night,
Whose life could conquer death.

He whispered, “Foolish children, can
The night put out the day?
And thus to manifest my love,
Again I go away.”

A breath uptook the quiet air
And frosted every neck
As Christ arose, unlocked the door,
And stepped upon the deck.

Then midnight tremors shook the ship,
And galewind brought to pique
A cataract of icy beats
That quickened us to speak.

“Secure we doom by folly, but
Of folly have you need?
Must ever have your children starved?
Have you not crumbs to feed?

“Approached has mercy only to
Abandon us again?
Does death not wander at the door
And wander yet within?”

His ark yet whispered on amidst
The candor of our guilt,
And as the summer turns, he turned
Upon our winter wilt.

“I mix with night the sentinels
Of mercy’s gentle flame,
Redeem the wickedness you work
By giving it my name.

“Thus, death now finds within its walls
A love it cannot quell—
All shall be well, my dearest ones,
All shall indeed be well.”