To Live in the Mercy of God

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To lie back under the tallest
oldest trees. How far the stems
rise, rise
 before ribs of shelter

To live in the mercy of God. The complete
sentence too adequate, has no give.
Awe, not comfort. Stone, elbows of
stony wood beneath lenient
moss bed.

And awe suddenly
passing beyond itself. Becomes
a form of comfort.
  Becomes the steady
air you glide on, arms
stretched like the wings of flying foxes.
To hear the multiple silence
of trees, the rainy
forest depths of their listening.

To float, upheld,
  as salt water
  would hold you,
  once you dared.

To live in the mercy of God.

To feel vibrate the enraptured

waterfall flinging itself
unabating down and down
 to clenched fists of rock.
Swiftness of plunge,
hour after year after century,
 O or Ah
uninterrupted, voice
 To breathe
spray. The smoke of it.
of steelwhite foam, glissades
of fugitive jade barely perceptible. Such passion—
rage or joy?
 Thus, not mild, not temperate,
God’s love for the world. Vast
flood of mercy
  flung on resistance.

© Denise Levertov