The Ancient Modern
Silent Water, Spoken Light / Joshua Alan Sturgill
What is this Water
given by the Silence?
And this Light
given by the Word?
When did this soul of mine
leave the presence of the Divine
and how does it Return?
These divisions God makes
(as St. Maximos and the Taoists might say)
between Uncreated and Created—are they divisions
God has made in Himself? Rendings
in His seamless garment? He is indivisible. Yet
beyond indivisible, too, and through the fractures,
through the scars on the palm of God’s hand,
we appear. We suffer; we dance; we Return
to that ground that breathes and breaks
and bleeds beneath us. Even now,
in this late-day Silence
I hear the warmth and pressure, the liquid Presence
of that other Place. I’m still. I’m listening.
Straining my skin
to seek the light that supports the air
and maybe today (maybe?) I feel
beneath the light, the Life
that undergirds all things. The Life of Someone
resting quietly beneath me. God, as
a Mother. God as the faithful Person
who loves me. I sleep (am I sleeping now?)
on Her lap or on His shoulder. In sleep
I dream of another life, entirely strange. I dream
of words entirely nonsense. Yet I know
what those words intend. And I dream
of actions that are entirely foolish, but I understand
what I attempt to do. In the dream
I forget my name. I’m called other names: son,
brother, Joshua, father, lover, enemy, friend, student,
boss, teacher, employee, stupid, smart, citizen,
traveller, ugly, handsome, needed, useless—all these
nonsense sounds that have a lovely dream-sense about them.
But what I want, while the dream-words
murmur on around me, and while I do strange tasks,
what I am hoping to hear
is something beyond words, not even in language (even
as I dream, I know dream); I’m waiting
for my Mother
to call my Name and wake me.
Her warmth is the Silent Water,
Her voice is soft as the Spoken Light.
Soft as the light that lifts me. Strong hands
of Light gently placing my soul
back in the arms of God.