I am striving to give back the Divine in myself
to the Divine in the All. ~ Plotinus
Fallen from Solitary to solitary:
what was that first image
to stir your singular eye
from sleep of inchoate multiplicity,
a shoreline swept away into dark oceans,
never to return?
Facing a greater harmony,
the polyphony of movement
recollected in the mind’s ear,
beauty reflected herself in remote
music—reflected again in silence:
what kept calling you on?
No echo of your name—it was
beyond name: in the earth,
in the veins of the leaf,
in the raincloud, in the sun,
the light behind the light. One
glimpse of the insistent thread
gleaming in the labyrinthine world,
and you could not but follow, retrace
footsteps yours and not yours.
An odyssey eastward, then inward
and back again, a cartographer of the soul
and the Soul, you returned
with maps of kosmos and microkosmos,
the numinous vision:
not theory, but θεωρία.
Not the lotus, but its enfolding.
It mirrors the plenary world
within its own emptiness.
I will not speak the icon’s silence,
the hidden breath in flower and fruit:
the unseen radix.
But the root was a door, and the door
was a sun—and where is there not
this articulate luminescence,
each expressed word a single Word?
Upon its threshold, I felt a hunger
far older than an orphaned infant’s cry.
Not the lotus, but the dream of the lotus,
asleep in every hand. A pathway.
The North Star.
I will not offer an image of an image
of the imageless—the marble stone
masks the divine face beyond
and within every face: emerging
forth, will I learn at last to see
the transparency with its eyes?
hear the primeval wind with its ears?
speak the Logos with its tongue?
I have been a long time waiting.
Not the dream of the lotus, but
the perfect flame, perfectly still, a flower
completely and simply: lotus.
And yet we could not sustain
your intenser gaze, enticed by claims
of facsimiled truths—or, drowned in aporia.
Ascent was all: cut away
everything. Failing eyesight, feverish scribe
of fire and flux, the poem flowing
too nimbly now, almost indecipherable,
swifter than stuttering flesh can carry or speak:
you had been a long time waiting.
Leaving the icons of the temple behind,
the waking hour you sought was not
a final cadence: a doorway opened
to a familiar but blazing shore and you,
intoning and intoning the hymn, even
as the lyre strings snapped, useless:
the eye dazed by light scattered
over the ocean, light enfolded upward
as a holy offering, light rising,
rising from solitary to Solitary:
the sun’s radial beams unravelling, eyelid
and tripartate universe both flung apart,
past the penumbra, past
the blindness where no shadow stands,
past the irreducible mantra
eternally spoken from the mouth
of being’s beginning:
one one one one—