The time of the first advent was foretold; the time of the second is not so; because the first was to be obscure, and the second is to be brilliant, and so manifest that even His enemies will recognise it. But, as He was first to come only in obscurity, and to be known only of those who searched the Scriptures….
– Pascal, Pensees, 757
They say I wear the scriptures on my sleeve –
Not true. I stitch and sew and scratch my soul
With them – the way that desert winds believe
The shifting sands will move and, on the whole,
That scrub and pine eventually break down.
They break down alright – and count the roll
Of boulders, mountains, and whatever crown
That Empire wears… These, lost on me now, hail
The high song of the wastelands: days that moan
The coming of another. Flies recall
The rhythm, locusts eat the melody
And honey adds the counterpoint. It’s all
The food I pick from barren fields. I see
It building up from wilderness; it comes
To search the slough and sift of enmity…
Remembering my mother’s cry, my dreams
Of distant visits haunt my head. So I search
The dunes of Palestine, obscured by time’s
Redundant landscape – even storm clouds lurch
With fits and starts that always promise rain –
The heavens’ pact with earth: You shall not parch
The grasses growing green upon the plain,
And I in turn will turn the sky to blue.
What thunder cries, a wilderness of pain,
That’s the work of God. I only call you.