1. The Distant God
You were remedial, you are a keepsake,
the embodiment of what was never laid to rest,
the body that was never found.
You went to pieces
(the dignified indignities name names).
It seems you were always
where you were wanted
but never where you belonged,
and you are never who you would have been
but who we would have you be.
We must live long if we are ever to live up to
all we have to live down.
2. The Fallen God
I had been expecting someone resolute
or at least a resolution.
I thought I would rise up
to a comeuppance
just as I feared
John Wesley’s fear—
not of falling into hell
but of falling into nothing.
It may not be faith
but I do believe
if the world has fallen
it has fallen no further.
3. The Proximate God
It seemed to live betwixt—
in flues and eaves
and the linings of the earth.
(I have heard it called inner spirit
as if there could be any other.)
I must have passed through it for years
without knowing it was there,
different or indifferent,
as sheer as the difference
between the flower
and the efflorescence,
the bloom and the bud.
4. The Risen God
When I heard God was dead I ran to the window.
I grant that the mind is stunned and flesh is loaned
but those are circumstances, not life itself.
Even as announcement passes for annunciation
and senses fade as they fill, the dead unreel.
I would swear they didn’t pass through life,
life passed through them.
On good days I re-believe—they fall to earth
and wake to think this is their home and realm.
Wraiths are strung with brawn, colts gambol
in the old sweet fields, maidens dream in the butteries.
You could almost call it sublime.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.