Friday, January 24, 2014

Apparently After 2am I Become an Augustinian

Once upon a time beauty was everywhere
But somehow when we fell it altered
Concentrated in particular moments
Made more beautiful by contrast
And the reign almost ubiquitous of ugliness
Was the triumph of the good
Everywhere truth fell to pieces
And we fed on her entrails in the dark
Yet somehow in the hungered frenzy
We tasted something Real
And knew it was a person
And longed to know His name
We cried in the darkness
And no one could explain
Except the darkness
The silence
The soft still voice beyond the waterfall
The one who could have been a raging fire
But chose to be a quiet whisper.
And that is how we knew Him
How we trusted
Because He hardly announced Himself at all
Just moved in to our heart
And became one
With no explanation, or apology
No accounting for this wonderful pain
Only truth and terrible beauty
That we long for
That we long for
Beyond desiring
Beyond the furthest strength of our hope
Where grace alone suffices.


  1. WOW! Apparently after 2am you become a deeply gifted poet. This is wonderful stuff, neither Augustinian nor non-Augustinian, but intensely and mystically Christian. Thank you!
    I'm especially moved by these three lines:
    "The one who could have been a raging fire
    "But chose to be a quiet whisper.
    "And that is how we knew Him..."
    I'll probably be riffing off these lines in my own verse.

  2. As far as I know this is the first poem you have ever released for public consumption. Since you have been known to reserve your poems only for your own consumption (gastric, not aesthetic) rather than allow anyone else to read them, I congratulate you warmly! It's beautiful.

  3. Well, I had to do it. I've riffed off a few lines of your poem, using a few of your words. I hope you don't mind, but here it is..........

    We cry in the darkness.
    deep lonely darkness
    seeking to find our way,
    looking for reasons to follow a path,
    toward a goal we cannot see.
    We cry in the darkness,
    and n0ne can explain,
    and guide us along,
    and show us the goal we cannot see
    None can explain
    the deep lonely darkness,
    except the darkness itself
    the darkness, the silence,
    a voice not spoken but heard
    a soft still voice beyond the falls,
    silent and louder than rushing floods,
    quiet and cool in the roaring heat,
    gentle in blinding light
    the voice of the one who is able to speak,
    to move, to shake, to burn,
    who could have been a raging fire,
    who could have forced us to his will,
    or burned us to a lifeless ash.
    None could explain
    the deep lonely darkness;
    none could direct our path,
    but the one who chose a better way,
    who chose to be a quiet whisper,
    a whisper we could fail to hear,
    but in the darkness, in the silence,
    we heard, we saw,
    and that is how we knew Him.

  4. I liked it, but with one caveat. What did you mean by "Where grace alone suffices"? Not trying to troll, just wondering.

    1. I have no idea what I meant. To be honest, I wrote this, went to sleep, and the next day I didn't even remember that I'd written and posted a poem until someone commented on it, so it's not entirely the work of my conscious brain :) I'm not plumping for the Protestant doctrine of "sola gratia" if that's the concern -- not any more than Aquinas was arguing for a Lutheran-type understanding of the sufficiency of faith when he wrote "sola fides sufficit" at the the end of Pange Lingua.

    2. Oh, okay.

      As you say, Aquinas is talking about the Eucharist, where faith aids/or wholly supplies understanding when "sensuum defectui". However, I didn't read the line from you poem the same as I read his, which is why I asked. I guess I'm just cautious of wording because I'm a philosophy student.

    3. lol...philosophical precision kills poetry, unless you're T.S. Elliot (and I don't even pretend to be remotely capable of that degree of brilliance.) That's probably why I can't write poetry unless I'm sufficiently tired and/or drunk to have my philosophical scruples shut down :)

    4. Meh, "Devil's in the details", as they say. :)

      Aside from my niggling, good poem.

  5. Words cannot express how much this poem has touched me. Thank you for writing it and sharing it. I can think of only a few works of poetry that have touched and inspired me to this level. God has given you an immense talent for writing. May God bless you and your important ministry.


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