There was a near-total eclipse of the sun this morning. Our location put us in the swath of moon-shadow that occluded something like ninety percent of the sun. Not far from us the eclipse was a full hundred percent.
Nature was very quiet during it, the air still and pensive. Even the birds that flock to my feeder kept away. It all felt very reverential.
I wrote this poem last year and worked on it for another half-year before feeling it was worthy of that reverence, of a moment like this morning. It remains the most popular post on my blog.
Whether or not you got to experience the eclipse, I'm sure that at least one point in your life, you too felt reverence, that you felt the hand of God move upon the land, and upon your heart.
Thank you for the tremble and weave,
For osprey tracing high the pine-scented air,
For silver sheets of rainfall fair;
Where orange rays of draining daylight conceive
These verdant hills and tumbling creeks which sound
As through fluffs of cotton,
Through which this lonesome road winds forgotten;
Quiet walks remembered, and remembered I was found.
Thank you for this morning scene,
And fingers of fog lacing between,
For sudden bursts of golden finches, here now and then unseen;
For the life of my spirit which refutes the mean.
I want to thank you for my pounding heart
And the urge to strengthen it,
For the courage to fight my sloth and recommit
To living this life not apart
From the grace of your love,
The warmth of which
These seconds enrich
And rain down from above.
Thank you, dear Lord,
For these sterling moments of peace
Amidst the cackle of the insane,
Their corrupting, deafening grain;
These pauses that cease
The unremitting insults of the day
Carried beyond the pale,
Varied but dull, and brittle like shale;
Each step as it may
A cry, a supplication all its own,
Offered with and over the swirl and roar so pure;
The susurration, the crossroad, the cure
Here at last! At last be shown
The glory be, unsayable!
These certain steps between uncertain novations prayable!
Thank you for the courage of my convictions
In this deluded and dangerous age;
For the friendship of the insistent Sage
And her reassuring valediction:
It isn't so bad, she says—
This time, this space,
This darkness so many embrace.
They live in pieces,
But the glory of God is one.
Truth cannot forever be denied,
And those who lied
The commonwealth will someday shun.
Thank you, Lord,
For the constant urge to create,
For the insatiable desire to mate
The contradictions. Lo the sword
Proclaims its own art,
Deeper than desire, more intense than pain,
The numbness against which I refrain
Any measure of victory; in this I impart
The whole of my soul.
Never to death or dust
Shall it give; nor to rust
And the unworthy jewels it stole.
So to you, dear Lord, I offer this,
What meager and gritty quarry
Is mine to give; the words in the story
So imperfect, so imprecise, but sure as a kiss.
They're mine but also not:
They're yours, truly, like this day, this moment, only mine by gift.
Thus is my wish to uplift,
But back to you, in the end, goes the entire lot.
In them and by them I have soared,
Through them and with them my heart has at last come alive.
So long afraid, so long merely to survive ...
Alive again, and so it sings: Thank you, dear Lord.