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Member's Work > Like jasper, clear as crystal

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message 1: by Marti (last edited Jan 27, 2015 04:45AM) (new)

Marti Martinson | 49 comments Like jasper, clear as crystal

Here I understood that the Lord beholdeth the servant with pity and not with blame.

- Julian of Norwich

At His solstice, among the wood and stone,
with silent windows whose holy art
could not sing from mere candle-points of light
both billions of miles and billions of years away,
it was neither love nor fear but Majesty
that swept me up, only to have me kneel.
That unclouded and knowing night I recall
like jasper, clear as crystal.

At His table, among the marble and linen,
with gleaming ware He would not have used,
the sanctuary was a kaleidoscope:
infinite shards blessing the very air,
anointing and alighting each communicant.
Divided from myself I stood with cup and plate
and observed me chanting that afternoon
like jasper, clear as crystal.

But oh, in that most gloomy closet
where neither face nor form are sanctified,
where neither face nor form are profaned
by taper, sun, or star; where neither name nor clan
are respected and conversion is unknown;
where neither prayers nor hymns have been uttered,
we were still held to be His: precious
like jasper, clear as crystal.

message 2: by Philip (last edited Jan 29, 2015 06:59AM) (new)

Philip Lee | 80 comments Mod
As you know, Marti, I am not religious; so any reaction I have to a piece such as this is a secular one.

I guess the three verses represent appearances of spiritual force or god: the first is universal and paternal/maternal, the second a personal incarnation, and the third darkness. I also appreciate the invocation of Julian of Norwich, a mystic who saw no wrath in the creator. With her blessing, then, the darkness - which would encompass the darker things we may be - is seen as part of the whole.

I take the view that evil has somehow got to be contained in preferance to the idea of eradicating it. In that sense, then, your piece is pleasing to me because - especially through the third verse - it seems to embrace everything within our project, our human project, and not just the bits that suit it.

It's well written with some nice turns of phrase. I was intrigued by the references to jasper. Usually red, there are lumps of it jutting out of the beaches at Ynys Llanddwyn in Anglesey (near our summer home). Dwynwen, the patron saint of lovers, had a retreat there. The jasper rocks look like great chunks of dinosaur meat.

Julian is an inclusive character, revered by Catholics and Protestants alike. Canonised by neither, she stands outside the madding crowd. She may be the first Englishwoman known to have written a book. Hers was a time and place about to undergo a great upheaval. Perhaps her role as a visionary was as a siren to those approaching changes?

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

In the light of day, everything stands clear.

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