Unless…

The following poem grew out of a time of lectio divina from this passage in John’s gospel.

 

Unless a grain of wheat

 

Dry, fallen and fielded in freshness

of morning, asleep am I and…waiting;

stillness hopes for hoping still.

 

falls into the earth

 

Pungent and porous I become

as rain pools upon my sodden back bent.

And, soaked in effluent earth,

the rays of sun force cracks to appear in my skin

 

and dies,

 

and the weight of all goodness breaks

my back and bones, splintered

here and there, forsaking their unity

for roots and reach after raw and down and damp.

Silence overtakes silence overtaking me and I gasp out

a final breath, and dark removes

all light and nothingness replaces that which was.

 

it remains a single grain;

 

Is this the end? Has shadow, then, become

the defining characteristic of all things?

Am I forsaken, to be forgot and left rotting

in felch and fetid stench of this horrid, hollow hell?

 

but if it dies,

 

Heat, the warm and simple liquid light,

intrudes upon nihilo, introducing breath and branch

and with re-membered memory kills the dead,

and life cries out to see the new day.

I am not what was but am again.

 

it bears much fruit.

 

But wait, partners here in soft and strange

are bidding, too, this light-ward grasp.

Where once I was, now we are more;

where more was no more than less of one.

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