Of Sin, Part V
“We needed him,” said one. And then,
As silence donned a hood
And raised a hoary, midnight blade,
At last, we understood.
What few remained resisted, but
Objection, snapped the shackle tide
Upon each flailing wrist.
And from its pulpit preached despair,
And from its bed, the deep
Extended eager palms to catch
The souls that fell asleep.
And as the waters laid upon
Our heads, I posited,
He could not mean, “All will be well,
Dear ones,” if we are dead.
I sputtered. Surf caressed the cheek
Where sandy pillow lay.
And as I climbed the icy beach,
Salvation to essay,
A sceptered light, like judgment, threw
Me to the ground. And I,
In anger searched for shade or cove
Or cave or nook nearby.
Then from behind, a golden voice
Informed my seat anew;
“Come warm yourself, dear friend,” said it.
“That perch will never do.”
And lo! The light diminished to
A beggar’s cheery fire
And there beside, a cheery grin
No iceberg could retire.
He said to me, “Let not the surf
Withhold its argument.
My ear awaits. Let loose your winds
Until your stores are spent.”
As warmth interred a tremor, I
Exhumed my history.
“In death we fall and rise—cannot
The citizen be free!”
“We die,” said he. “Indeed, we die.
But sea no mastery
Can claim upon the sandy heel,
Nor citizen the free.
“Indeed, as shore to surf, as stars
Among the empty sky,
The living one delights to live
Where death delights to die.”
“But suitable, to stopper sin,”
Said I. “To stem the drop—
That death evaporate and gar-
dens bloom and never stop!”
A catapult of embers flung;
Regarded he their flight.
“The spark finds no relief within
The wind but in delight
“Expends its jeweled coffers there.
And bitter is the wage
The shore accepts, if only to
Its enemy assuage.
“Converse is Christ’s trajectory—
The surf, the spark, the beach.
From sun to sun, delights our lord
To luminate the breach.”
I thought, “Demand salvation then
Eschew with icy hands
The judgment flames that now forebear
My liquid reprimands?”
The other stood. He left the fire
And stepped into the sea.
I said, “And what of sin? To death
You yield eternity.”
And lo, a memory resolved
Of rain and candlelight.
Said he, “Then canvas for a script,
Dear friend. Fear not the night!”
And as the fire in happy charm
Now warmed my empty seat,
My starry friend submerged, and sin
And death swirled at my feet.