Wisdom from a Gnostic Sage
I bear this weight with dignity,
For meaning is in symmetry –
Or so it seemed that way, when I
Could easily command plasticity.
I chiselled him – the crucified –
As handsome then: a slumbering lord,
And Mary still resplendent in
Her prime, and poised, and aureoled
In draperies. But now he droops
As heavy as a corpse will be,
And she, wrapped up against the cold,
Just clutches at this clod, her son.
I had to come in person and
Join in this undertaking, but
I’m growing old, and now don’t know
Where beauty is. And that’s the truth.
Between the bone and marrow
Penetrates the arrow
Of your Word. And so
Salvific poison spreads.
Once it takes hold
All worldliness contracts
To lodge that head
Below my heart.
There is no antidote,
For – sweet Mercury –
The chemistry must kill
What kills, then save outright.
This unevaded shaft
Invades me. I must yield.
For once it has arrived,
It lives and thrives.
I curse the day on which my so-called friend,
Persuaded by my sisters, chose to come
And bellow at me in my cosy den
Where I had slept for days all neatly wrapped
In perfumed swaddling-bands. For up ‘til then
My aches and wants and cares were left outside
My fortress sealed against the world and time.
But now I am re-born with my old bones.
Conclusion to my life has all been robbed:
I must endure the painful swell again.
Though I am made a sign I now repent
The impulse of my blood which leapt too quick,
For peace by any should not be disturbed
When it by natural means has been conferred.
When brute creation first brought me to birth,
I felt no obligation. Flesh and all
I made of it was mine. But now each breath
Compounds my debt to an impatient god.