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There is a wholeness to the poem that is somewhat flattened by any attempt to explain, or clarify it. Yet my intention is to try and lift that veil a little bit for you.
I imagine that our first parents were synesthetic – that colors could register in them as textures, aroma as sight, light as taste and sound, etc…. Before the intricate network of Holy Wisdom, of Law, was violated by sin, perhaps such a rich, multi-layered receptivity was possible. Eden might have been a womb-like environment, mediating Creation to the undifferentiating sensory perception of the inhabitants, as a womb does for a baby. And ‘womb’ leads to the ‘wound’ that is conception – the necessary-but-invasive touch of the Word, and the agony of calling form forth from within such a context of utter potentiality. Beauty ‘wounds’ us in its way, and who is ‘Tota Pulchra’ (All Beauty) but the Blessed Virgin Mary?
To her I turned – the new Eve, the Womb of the Word, where I could imagine actually being – with Christ, also a baby within this Mother; experiencing His glory through my little, closed eyelids as He floated there beside me; tasting and seeing ‘that He is good’ through Mary’s mediation, as His light began to dawn in the world. This floating in His presence, this sense of our hearts joining through Mary’s heart, this life-giving blood, this Word who whispered to me there, all spoke of the Ocean of Mercy.
Surrendered, utterly, to Him in this amazing-vast, but cozy-safe ‘place,’ I experienced the Spirit’s presence as fire, ‘fed’ by the grace that fills Mary as her blood ‘fed’ the growing body of Christ. I, the natural material to be burned away, and she the untouched Context within which I could safely experience the touch of purifying flame. She, formed from His own desire for a spotless Bride, and His desire fulfilled in and through her housing of His Body, the Church, me.
Somehow, one must return from such mountaintops, and the Spirit seemed to help me do just that – drawing me back ‘outward’ into the larger matrix of Holy Wisdom from the perfect Microcosm of Mary’s womb (and ‘matrix’ does mean ‘womb’). And back into the air (just like a baby taking her first breath) of real life I came. That natural air felt, for a moment, superfluous, unnecessary, after breathing the pure, blood-borne oxygen of Eternity, saturated with the fully-real Presence of God. I love the word ‘saturated’ – ‘as full as possible of’ – because it is an easy way to demonstrate the notion that we can be really-and-truly ‘full’ of Christ without yet being wholly-and-perfectly ‘full’. To me, the goal of holiness is to have all the impurities burned away so that whatever is left of me is free to be utterly, perfectly, completely, fully, wholly, full of Christ.
O sweet, unsuffocating Air!
True, synesthetic womb of Eden’s sense,
of Eve’s first bliss.
Colors caressing skin-to-skin,
sound’s flash wounds silence
with a fructifying kiss.
O, Spirit’s Bride, O Brooding Wing, O Dove!
Carved from, conformant to
the long-awaited love.
Your sinless scent insists, like glory, through veiled eye.
I taste goodness through dawning, diffuse glow.
Whispered into my chambered ear,
the muffled march of bright sun passing by.
Grace pulses, hearts entrain through blood.
Undrowning, I descend in Mercy’s flood.
I am as wick unto the flame, and Thou,
the nourishing atmosphere of unconsuming fire,
image of consummate desire.
Ending as I began,
matrixed in loving Wisdom’s care,
my soul a hymn to Thee,
O pure, superfluous, saturated Air.
All the poems are now in one volume, and I’d love for you to have a copy! Click on the cover to buy it, and click here for the recordings of all the poems.