Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Ascension

In which the holy man carries the child
up the mountain, and the world is changed

Because in every collapse
the body is drawn into itself.
And, because the sacrifice
will lead to an understanding
of the fallen child, the prophet
climbs upward and endures the voices.

He closes his eyes,
wondering how he can just leave
everything behind: the faces of children
with their round, doomed eyes,
their hands crushing flowers, and how
the wind kept resurrecting the fallen leaves.

He trembles slightly, almost losing
his footing. There must be a lesson
to be learned here, he says to himself, even
in the resisting. Meanwhile, the path ahead
climbs upward, gives way to a certain
solitude. For this, he wept.

There are too many questions. But
this one is moving quickly toward a resolution. Surely
the weight of the world can be so natural.
But the child, the gradual loss—
He is too young, he murmurs. He is unready
for such faith, such curious display of love.

The years have softened the man,
his face marred by wisdom and diminished
strength. He ambles onward, his hands
slow and yet with each painful step,
the sky is opening for him. He thinks himself
unfairly dressed for departure, but

his people won’t have it otherwise.
The ceremony must be followed. And as his back
fades into the glare, the old man accepts his role.
He is the symbol of His age, the bearer of meaning,
the body He carries more feeble than His own:
the impossible burden of His child, a young

forgivable world.