Five Psalms

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Let us think of God as a lover
   Who never calls,
Whose pleasure in us is aroused
  In unrepeatable ways,
God as a body we cannot
  Separate from desire,
Saying to us, “Your love
  Is only physical.”
Let us think of God as a bronze
  With green skin
Or a plane that draws the eye close
  To the texture of paint.
Let us think of God as life,
  A bacillus or virus,
As death, an igneous rock
  In a quartz garden.
Then, let us think of kissing
  God with the kisses
Of our mouths, of lying with God,
  As sea worms lie,
Snugly petrifying
  In their coral shirts.
Let us think of ourselves
  As part of God,
Neither alive nor dead,
  But like Alpha, Omega,
Glyphs and hieroglyphs,
  Numbers, data.
First forgive the silence
  That answers prayer,
Then forgive the prayer
  That stains the silence.
Excuse the absence
  That feels like presence,
Then excuse the feeling
  That insists on presence.
Pardon the delay
  Of revelation,
Then ask pardon for revealing
   Your impatience.
Forgive God
  For being only a word,
Then ask God to forgive
  The betrayal of language.
God of the Syllable
  God of the Word
God Who Speaks to Us
  God Who Is Dumb
The One God  The Many
  God the Unnameable
God of the Human Face
  God of the Mask
God of the Gene Pool
  Microbe  Mineral
God of the Sparrow’s Fall
  God of the Spark
God of the Act of God
  Blameless  Jealous
God of Surprises
  And Startling Joy
God Who Is Absent
  God Who Is Present
God Who Finds Us
  In Our Hiding Places
God Whom We Thank
  Whom We Forget to Thank
Father God  Mother
  Inhuman Infant
Cosmic Chthonic
  God of the Nucleus
Dead God  Living God
  Alpha God  Zed
God Whom We Name
  God Whom We Cannot Name
When We Open Our Mouths
  With the Name God  Word God
The new day cancels dread
  And dawn forgives all sins,
All the judgments of insomnia,
  As if they were only dreams.
The ugly confrontation
  After midnight, with the mirror,
Turns white around the edges
  And burns away like frost.
Daylight undoes gravity
  And lightness responds to the light.
The new day lifts all weight,
  Like stepping off into space.
Where is that room you woke to,
  By clock-light, at 3 a.m.?
Nightmare’s many mansions,
  Falling, have taken it with them.
The new day, the day’s newness,
  And the wretchedness that, you thought,
Would never, never depart,
  Meet—and there is goodbye.
A bad night lies ahead
  And a new day beyond that—
A simple sequence, but hard
  To remember in the right order.
Lord of dimensions and the dimensionless,
Wave and particle, all and none,
Who lets us measure the wounded atom,
Who lets us doubt all measurement,
When in this world we betray you
Let us be faithful in another.

© Mark Jarman