The Ancient Modern

Vin Nouveau /  Joshua Alan Sturgill                            

I found a door within my heart 
I could not open.  I heard a Voice
from the other side of it, entwined
with the echoes of my outward life.

In the heart’s dim, red light, I wasn’t sure
what the door was made of.  It felt
warm and smooth, color and texture like
rare, polished wood — was it

heather root or white oak or osage? 
Then I thought: this door was born 
from the mother of gold. But I didn’t know
what that could mean.  I wondered, too,

is the heart itself a seed from the fruit
of Paradise? A seed far-flung from the Tree 
of Life, like some plants scatter their seeds
in small explosions?  Is the heart the Rock

that Moses struck, full of hidden, living water?  
Or the wineskin for a new wine? In any case
the Door is beautiful. Beauty also is a glossing,
a pearl nimbus that designates the living

from the not yet alive.  But I was cautious.
The mist of Beauty clung to me as I
approached the door, distracting me with truths
revealed too soon. Beauty showed me

a crown on my forehead, a scepter in my hand, 
a robe of velvet on my shoulders. The soul’s
regalia. But the door is good, as well, and
in its mirror I saw my soul’s skin. Yes, a king;

but a leprous king who must approach its heart
penitentially.  Maybe this is what Jesus meant
when He said remove your hands
and your eyes. Do not grasp.  Beg blindly

and listen.  What matters is the Door.
For the world’s sake, attend to the Door.
Go on knocking.  Go on listening
to the Voice that sings from within it.

All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2022 by Joshua Alan Sturgill. All rights reserved.

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