Like a white gull, caught in the cross-purpose of an opposing breeze,
I hang, suspended upon grief and this searing joy. Weightless, effortless,
aloft on these mercies, I hover ‘twixt heaven and earth, love greater even
than that which wrings my heart burgeoning beneath these wings.

Such gift, this graceful breath, inkling of the ageless I was made for. Ah, then!
unbound at last from Time’s enslavement, my heart will be home in Undying.
A liberated thing, from which sorrow has chastened the last temporal taint,
feathers sheathed gold in the sacred fire of that morning light. No tears shall spring
but they are summoned by joy, when all Love’s sweet satisfactions are complete.

Not yet, but the holy warmth of this early sun, stealing with summer gladness
over my upturned face, swears that such things will be—this and the shout of gulls
and the salt tang of sea, hinting verities scarce imagined. And while I wait—
here where yesterday rests most thankfully and tomorrow sleeps unthought of—
my soul is awake, keeping time, so lucid it might be heaven itself.

Here, where hope first found wings, hope rises anew, replumes, resurrects immortal.
Wounded with love, exultant in sorrow (for sorrow, after all, only means one has loved)
my cloistered heart rekindles to the day, inhabiting eternity in this present moment.
One great pulse of wings, one mighty cry of desperate joy, and I am off,

flying free.

5 Responses to “Presence”

  1. Heather says:

    Lovely as ever, Lanier.
    Your words, “unbound at last from Time’s enslavement” brought to mind Milton’s poem On Time that I’m sure you are aware of but was new to me a few weeks ago, which begins with these words:
    “Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race” and ends with the triumphant words:
    “Attired with stars we shall for ever sit,
    Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O Time.”

    Thank you as always, for sharing your words with us.

  2. Josie Ray says:

    Will we be *free*? One verse that clearly promises that I would post on my wall and live on. Not intangible spiritual freedoms with which we try to pacify ourselves: I’m talking full, felt, eternal, shameless, guiltless freedom.

    Not trying to pretend we’re really enjoying and are thankful for suffering (I’m *not* and never would wish it on anyone else even if it were for their good, and can’t imagine why He would)…

    but happy and joyful: cake really is better for you than spinach; joy better for you than sorrow; sitting reading a novel better for you than jogging.

    Not having to try *not* to reach for what we *really* want and pretending we want what’s supposedly good for us, but what is good for us also being truly and thoroughly delightful. Not spinach, but cake. Good for you! Lots of it! 🙂 (Or it could be fresh peaches from the tree of life. *With* sugar and cream, not without.)

    Being *only* with people you enjoy. And not feeling like you also *have* to be with the others, too, and pretending to enjoy it. No obligation, and it’s somehow not selfish. And not simply “my will be lost in Thine,” because He somehow wants all of this that’s going on now and hurting us. And I don’t.

    I would wish your sorrow away and grant that joy made you grow twice as much as sorrow ever could…so we would abandon the latter as obsolete! A pox on sorrow. God as delight; God as Santa; God as fairy-godmother; not God always whisking away what we want “for our own good,” even when our desires are good. Ack. Bye. :-/

    p.s. Please don’t post if this sounds only like despair. Today I want things changed *now* for everyone I love, including you. And me. And everyone. I want us to, in joy, gradually forget that there ever were such words as “longsuffering” and “patience.”

    • Lanier Ivester says:

      No, not despair, dear Josie. An honest rant against the way we instinctively know things ought to be and are not–yet.

      “Everything sad is coming untrue…”

  3. Josie Ray says:

    Someone just blew my rant by bringing me cookie-dough beaters to lick (just try being discontented while licking beaters). And this morning, a plant I’ve eyed suspiciously in a tin tub of flowers on the back deck (weed? flower?) blossomed out into a pink yarrow that sneaked in from the garden at the last house. On these things–and on your seagulls–I hang my hope.

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