Copyright (c) 1999 First Things 93 (May 1999): 12,38,43,51.
Her kitchen, it had been her kitchen twenty years.
She put the ginger in the cupboard,
turned out the light, opened the back door.
The shattered globe of an old moon had spiked itself
along the blossoms on their dogwood tree.
He said it was over; therefore it was over.
All solemn–eyed, naive, she drank him in,
his anger, standing there, hands on his hips,
watched him, practiced, redescribe their lives.
How well he’s managing the separation.
It wasn’t working. It couldn’t. He couldn’t.
They had lived together too long.
They were growing old together.
She sat on the stoop,
watched their cat sweep up and over the back fence
and the nickel–plated moon slip off their tree.
Cooler. It was cooler and close to midnight.
If wind were blue
rushing like water through treetops,
If I could more than glimpse it
on a scattering of trees, a primary blueness
streaking from the southwest.
Now the sky descends like a stream pouring
through the clouds, raw and original blue
rushing down to sweep across the face of its brother.
Along white sea cliffs,
through temples ruined surging,
the verb of life flows up the peopled mount
To the altar, waiting.
Lift the veil.
See at last the crystal wind;
the kiss, as deed embraces intention;
reality and appearance spinning
arm in arm in arm.
I unpurse a laughing stream of blue,
cutting through the haze to an opening,
in through the rock, bursting blue again.
A is for alphabet, scrolling behind closed lids:
B is for Beatrice, that stern theological marm
C is for Caliban, our child crouching on the couch
D is for dust, the nought to which all comes
E is for ever, the eternal dreaming us
F is for fascination, when the mirror shatters
G is for god, of stuff or light, or both, or none
H is for history, all its bloody baths and golden clutter
I is for ego, its babels and communions
J is for jabber, the mind’s undoing
K is for kyrie, to whom or what we bow
L is for lunacy; see below:
M is for moon, whose substation are we
N is for nothing: ex nihilo all came
O is for Orpheus, his singing head bobbing down the stream
P is for Prospero, who drowned his book and broke his staff
Q is for qualm, verging on conscience
R is for res, the thing itself
S is for sophia, our long– lost cousin
T is for time, never enough
U is for under the green sward
V is for votive, deep vow’s fulfillment
W is for wonder, awe or quest rousing
X is for chromosome, the twinned one of my sex
Y is for yours, mating with mine
At last we know all truth is gray: no more
Faith’s raucous rhetoric, this blinding trap
Of absolutes, this brightly colored map
Of good and bad: our ocean has no shore.
Dogmatic truth is chimera: deplore
All arrogance: the massive gray will sap
The sparkling hues of bigotry, and cap
The rainbow, mask the sun, make dullness soar.
Yet tiny, fleeting hesitations lurk
Behind the storied billows of the cloud
Like sparkling, prism’d glory in the murk:
The freedom of the gray becomes a shroud.
Where nothing can be false, truth must away—
Not least the truth that all my world is gray.
--D. A. Carson