Reading Barth




A circle – touching our humanity.

Two eyes – two hands – a shadow – once – transfigured –

near. Each night the stars – eternity

that intersects – a dusty signature.

I speak – and like the rising moon a light

appears. No certainty – alive – two wings –

a bird that arcs between. Today – tonight –

tomorrow – ever listening – we sing.

A discipline – a chastity – the tides

of deep eternity – no thread of text

unbroken. Silently he walks beside –

in trembling I hear. A holy guest –

an urtext of divinity – the dawn –

the universe awaiting to be born.





An eagle on the edge – attune – perceiving

in a man heaven’s totality –

in lonely flight – surveying our planet’s grief.

A mystery – the one infinity

resides within – unique – God with us – always.

Feathers windswept by the rain – observes –

among the inexhaustible rays –

a Punctum Archimedis. Reserved –

the eagle flies towards our history –

the Son enclosing us in life – today

is as his yesterday – a mystery –

the present overwhelmed – the now portrayed

as bounded by the one who is and was

and is to come – in nothingness – a cross.





The distant trees are sheltering the birds.

We hear but cannot see. A fragrance. God

descends to us with meekness, unobserved.

A theologian waits for Aaron’s rod

to flourish. Tiny flowers, nuts – so beautiful –

the evidence of heaven. With gentleness

he forms his words. Eternity fulfilled.

The Spirit moves – perhaps he feels the breath.

Like Barth I had a stroke – no speech – he spoke

of Zechariah. Secretly the moon

awaits its birth. No radiance – a token

of our incapacity. No bloom –

observe the fields. The King of Light deserves

our zeal – we sprout – we prophesy our words.





I dreamt of landscapes covered in cloud – so dark –

as dark as death. The floods arose – my son –

my God, my God, why have you forsaken

me? That night I woke before the dawn –

the Easter moon – the stars – a radiance.

I cannot take the place – each death is his.

The noose was in his wardrobe – a resident.

I came home early – he held his head within

his hands – he spoke to me – so sorrowful.

In time – a providence – eternity –

a shadow of a greater radiance –

the son attune. He crowns his head with oil.

A shepherd calls – in Adam all is lost –

in me you have your true identity.





The sunlight on the steps. The shadows move.

I hear the bell birds – one by one – the breeze

is gently circling through the leaves. Approved –

a finer intellect – reality.

Is it incompatible – the thought

of a return? The world to come shall be

just as it is with us. Each thing – distorted

in this life – the child asleep is free

to sleep within the world to be – the clothes

we wear – we wear them still – each thing

shall be the same. The Coming One has chosen

not to change the world by force. A ring –

a robe – the sandals for our feet – a slight

adjustment – that is all – each thing – bright.


Walter Benjamin – quoting Hassidic writing.





The moon – the reddening clouds – the silent sky

bears marks. A shadow of another time.

The moon – a mirror – snowy clouds – a dye

of evening – the nameless named. A rhyme

brings deeper meaning. Harmony – a ship

upon the waves – supported. Revelation –

timelessness in time – a life equipped

with holiness – in this – the incarnation.

From without – religion sublimated –

alien – incomprehensible –

the sinner justified – the culmination –

through grace of God the thing impossible

becomes an actuality – a Name –

including all who have faith in the Name.





Birds sing before the rain. The psalmist knew.

Within the river rounded stones. At night

the twinkling lights – infinity in view.

I woke one morning knowing this – a brightness.

Circles within circles – beneath, above,

within. I saw a bush on fire – I

became another I – a deeper love –

an angel of the Lord in flames of fire

appeared. No human light. No light of dawn.

Religion anticipates what God will do.

No anticipation here. I knew – reborn.

That night I looked out on the sea. Above

the waves – a rainbow. A sign. A covenant.

Transcendence dwelling in our immanence.





A rainbow in the morning sky – my father

wakes up early – as always – that day

I heard his cry – surprised – a kookaburra

looked at him – and all around were rays

of light – my father’s not religious – yet

he felt something – he has a photograph –

a golden boat – perhaps – a rainbow’s end.

My father’s ninety one – our conversation

rarely veers towards my faith – forgetful –

yesterday I asked – what was your mother’s

name – he thought – said Clare and then said – Lily” –

he got up from his seat – went down the hall –

and then returned – he held a plastic glass –

“just lift it to the light” – inscribed was – Lily.


“Adam…the rainbow… Jesus…the sun.”





At was for me – my father’s grandfather

inscribed these words – his French inheritance

revealed by the initial word. Isaiah

fifty three – the place of penitence.

Twice he wrote the phrase – and then the surname –

Hebert. 1896. I have

a photo of his daughter – Lily – pure –

a symbol of her innocence. He was

afflicted yet he opened not his mouth –

a lamb before its slaughterers. A choice –

the evil or the good – denied – a Sabbath.

Neither in the root or crown of this

particular tree – the sun appears to all –

I hold it to the light – a life restored.





A bush aflame – a singularity –

for like the universe’s birth – ablaze

the infinite appeared – a voice was heard –

ehyeh asher ehyeh – ehyeh – yhwh –

I am who I am – I am – YHWH

(a holy name unspoken – those who read

these words will say – Hashem or Adonai –

a timelessness occurring within time) –

the Jews are witnesses – each generation

hosting the unseen. Why had he come –

the bush on fire without a twig consumed –

the misery – the Tetragrammaton

declared – my people’s misery – on fire

within – a flame alive in its desire.