William Ramsey

2014 © William Ramsey






One has to wonder at the details of creation,

not the vast, endless, cosmic stuff

that itself must be a detail somewhere

in God's eye.

One has to wonder at the divine's silent dance

on one drop of dew in marsh grass,

on a spider web laced in a woodland shrub,

or on the eyelid of a sleeping infant.

One has to wonder at a soul's acute, sudden need,

not at the greatness of an empire

that recedes into decline

like one ocean wave among millions.

Every particle and iota hums with mystery—

each physical piece of creation has that resonance.

That you live and die in this magnificence is

one, loving detail.


after Hildegard of Bingen

"The most questionable
thing about prayer
is the motive."

—Johannes of Coblenz, 1657

I wanted to decipher the grand code,

to graph my personal odds,

to chart the safest course through a labyrinth—

all those years

my microscope magnifying

the interior darkness of my cranium.

Desperate, God in heaven ripped open his shirt,

clutched his chest, and screamed,

"Look into this divine heart and see my love

pumping like crazy into creation to sustain you!"

Suddenly as people opened their mouths to speak

all words vanished when passing the lips—

everyone became a creature of silence.

There was no more shouting.

In time they learned to communicate

by pressing their hands in precise, subtle touches

to others' palms, chest, neck, cheeks, knees, and thighs.

Such intimate pressings!

Even today anger melts as fingers everywhere

caress warmly, softly, the temples of others.

As for me, I wait for that beautiful chest

to be bared again, and never to leave it.

Life is where you find yourself

when getting off the elevator

on the wrong floor

as the doors close behind you.

You walk down the hall, smiling nonchalantly,

in a charade that you know your way around.

Yet, you desire to wake from this dream.

You are hoping that one door is yours.

You are picturing an executive suite,

although a key to a maintenance room will do.

Rich or poor, you just want a landlord

with all the solutions, all the good power.

Soon you see an escape staircase ahead,

its sign saying: "IN CASE OF FIRE."

Now you are fleeing a great fire,

running outside with trillions of people

who dance ecstatically in streets toward the horizon—

the landlord has closed all doors behind them.

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