William Ramsey

2013 © William Ramsey






I sit, gutted and dazed.

You have broken down my drywall,

ripped out the insulation,

mangled the wiring and plumbing,

split open the rafter beams,

and bulldozed my foundations.

Divine Beloved, thank you for moving in.


after Hildegard of Bingen

Divine, Beloved Awakener,

pulsing in the creation,

arising in the heart,

seed of love blooming,

soothing with compassion,

sustaining in your silence,

befriending in your naturalness —

you are the intimate one,

the one we have always known,

the one we have always sought,

the lover found again.

The textbook diagrams show things clearly:

human beings conclusively are bones

wrapped anatomically in flesh —

further encased by skin, nails, and hair.

The books have blank pages as well,

and these are the diagrams of human souls.

Whenever you riff the pages it is they that pass by

in bright flashes of silent illumination.

Science and theology in the same book!

The best miracle should be unmiraculous.

As when an avatar walks on earth,

the exact impression of his toes

sinks each day deeper into sandal soles,

and the warp of sandal straps twists,

stretching with each ankle's flexed swiveling;

and his nail clippings, once snipped,

can fall and mingle in the dust of things;

and sweat dampens the robe on his back.

A miracle must honor the laws of physics.

It must be precise in the ways of flesh.

It must show an exact crafting in creation.

The miracle above all must work complexly,

through matter's infinite particularity —

until the soul, bowing deeply, awakens.

Divine Beloved, we know of your extra special talents.

But why did you not create fish

able to swim in schools across the Sahara sands?

How could you omit a rose that blooms for a century?

Why did you leave out trees that tip toe to the river when thirsty?

Or volcanoes blasting silently inward?

Why did you not think of a second moon,

always full when the other one is a crescent?

How about famines dying of their own hunger?

Why, Great and Omnipotent One, did you settle for

knitting love as the fabric of creation?

Hike up a mountain

that has no top.

Pole your way to the moon in a skiff.

Thank each person who reviles

your character.

Do these things in perfect serenity.

Until then, what can you know

of detachment?

O Beloved:

You alone do not grasp for meaning.

You precede questions and you outlast them.

You alone are unchained to forms and appearances.

Human power is a leaf in the wind.

Holding onto the self I cling to nothing,

and all my knowledge is perishable.

You are the infinite from which I have issued:

each of my tissues was sewn by you,

and each bodily particle is your incomprehensible gift.

Why do I cling to your garment hem?

Because desires and fears are one's bondage,

and in loving you one turns joyfully from self.

Upwelling in me flow your most intimate currents.

What sadness that I cannot possess them —

they pass through me in streams of your mystery.

Am happy to exchange email remarks with readers.

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