Standing on the thrusting grass by the choked pear-tree
The gnarled gardener is older than the trunk he tends.
The tendrils of the weed he strips from the limb
Have wrapped round both its twigs and his
And link the laddered acid of his seed
Back down to planet and to plant.
His fingers tend the garden’s need:
Yet the transpired breath of the garden is
The respired breath of his work, which is the hymn
Of his soul and the grown voice of the soil rejoicing:
That dropped and rotting seeds may blossom yet from the dirt.
Now in the darkening afternoon
The animals watch from the garden’s verge,
Shaped like versions of myself in the forests
of my sleep (Though I wake to kill them and eat).
Caught by their horns in our thickets they thresh
To escape us, the birds and the beasts.
And still through the ripped veils of their flesh
We enter with trampling feet
The violent sanctum of our unkept Keep:
And no slain lamb or ram nor any blood of bull
or dove Can give back the peace of our lost first task.
Image of God, we say, and image of the world:
Eve, sorrowing, and blest-for-all-of-mankind, Mary
(Ruth-like in the fields, hopeful in the reaped wheat
To glean the grace of her promised pain),
And Jesus, like a mother at the town’s dark side
Stretched with pain of making, and of making Man,
Who taught us how to be crucified
(We who would rather be slayers than slain);
He whom the Magdalene only could greet
At first as the gardener: Exactly the image of God—
Christ, who returned us the gardener’s task.
Creation waits now for the gardener to speak:
And the eager weeds await their release
From the bondage of being weeds.
Eden and Zion lie far apart
But atom and ocean, beasts and plants
Wait for the one who will grant them peace.
Then the planet will spin in a sabbath dance
(And the dancing place will be the heart).
Fruit will burgeon from scattered seeds
And garden and town be clean as a fleece
Early in the morning, on the first day of the week.
Adam – the name means literally “of the earth.” From dust they were made.
Of the dust, yet of the sky. Filled with the breath of God, the spirit that animates this clay. Reading an excerpt from Matthew Fox the other day and thinking about the relationship of these two, through the lens of the city. Fox relates an interview with someone from the New York Times. They ask him about the connection of his creation spirituality to life in the city. He says, “look out the window. What do you see?” “Bricks,” she answers.
Bricks, red with the earth of their making. Are we distant from the earth, or surrounded by it? We are still building towers, raising the earth to God. When we drive our cars, we are burning the stuff of earth — oil, which is mostly decayed vegetable matter, made of carbon and earth. Rubber tires, made from trees that draw their sustenance from earth.
Similarly, our technology. Now instead of the, we use sand – silicon. Silicon has become the building block for intelligent life. If we have our way, that intelligence may one day surpass our own. But it will be creation in our image — born of our fertile imaginations, and made of the earth, the stuff of our own making.