Wednesday, March 2, 2011

temptation before a dry font

Harvey S. Mozolak

you probably don’t recognize me
beardless I am obviously not the character
playing Jesus
I will leave that role to you to fill
with weakened memories
and easily excused forgetfulness
but I am hardly a prop
like a cactus or a Negev lizard
warming myself in the early morning sun

I am temptation
not quite yours
somewhat removed from
well you know the furtive figure
behind the forty days
who parades as a touch of coolness
the only and proper shade
in this arid deserted place

I am the gleam on the fruit
polished by waving leaves
as a serpent
subtle sweet swirling
makes his way
still yet with limbs
through the branches
to be closer to an ear

here there are no green trees
the hot breath of earth’s volcanic hate
for deserted and doomed
decades have stripped them
left them coat racks
on which to hang human nakedness

I am the suggestion
in the sand that shifts
of firmer footing elsewhere
there must be a hidden garden
you can grow
flowers you can form
of plastics that never fade or falter
bouquet yourself with nature
retouched with necessary
corrections and completions
that the divine omitted or forgot

I am the IF
in a mirage of words
the clause that causes doubt
in what you see and trust
hungry you can chew
stones if necessary
or don’t you trust miracles
from your all-powerful God?
take a chance
with your balance in the high lofts
where heaven is stuffed with angels
and safety belted with belief
everything here is yours
add a bit of your sweat to the sand
and castles can be created
that will scrape the sky
to speak in divine ways
among enlightened minds
and talented beings
that need to beg no mercy
for they sit at pinnacles and great promontories 

if but you acknowledge
invite me to sit among you
introduce me to a friend as a friend
make me an acquaintance
of your hours
the places where your feet go
and where your hands build
of time
forget the forty days
this is no wilderness but a bakery
the smell not carrion and scorpions’ prey
but of the perfume of your lasting beauty
a temple where you are seen in a mirror
as you really are
the imagination of God incarnate
at a high mountain
of achievement and success
potential and power

(looking at the baptismal font and into the font)

what is this?
this wet kingdom

a puddle of pity?

does it bear a name?

in the midst of my…
pleasantly dry prompting—
a watery word?

the welling of grace
begins in the hole of hate
the pit of death itself
parched and dying breathless
at the heartless emptiness
he speaks

 “I thirst.”

he yields to no temptation
in this his greatest test
the wood table for the loaf of his love
broken shared and sopped
the tree-temple for his lamb’s blood splattered
the kingdom forever
is for you

for you who have yielded
he has yielded up himself
not to temptation
but to nakedness
hanged as fruit replaced
on the gory garden’s tree

now he hungers
beyond the days of fast
to hold us fast
until the last
lest we fall
he is lifted up
to die on the bare branches
“there is no beauty to behold him”
struck and stuck
hit and hated
what is seen is no illusion
nor fantasy of hapless hope
but in the flooring of God
is earth’s true foundation
at this angels too attend
learning lessons they never envisioned
in eternity
songs they will sing
when the silent closed gates of Eden
are flung open
again before Joseph’s borrowed
furrowing of forever

this is no puddle of pity
but the basin of blessing
an ocean of mercy
the thirst of God
in the mouth of Christ

drink deeply
of the water and the blood
eat of his flesh
and inwardly digest
the Word blessed

“worship the Lord your God
“and serve only him”

                     appropriate for Lent 1

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