Posted by: Peadar Ban | October 12, 2012

And God Said

Before Leaving You Wait Here

Awake before my eyes opened I lay in bed
And thought of what it would be like when I am dead.
I tried imagining angels in the sky,
Gas clouds forming stars, comets shooting by
As I rose higher, ever higher, past all of that
Past the heavenly choir at last and saw where God sat
At the top of a small round hill in a soft arm chair
Quietly reading a book, a blue bird near.
Once more, odd it never seemed, on solid ground
I walked slowly toward Him taking no time to look around
But keeping my eyes on God as on I strolled
So I did not notice the young man, about as old
As I was when I went to sea, who had joined me
Until he spoke softly as a breeze, quietly
At my shoulder, asking if I’d mind
If he walked with me.  “No.  I’d find
Your company on the way a comfort,”  I replied, rather formally for me,
And was somewhat surprised to hear
The words come out that way.  It was clear
By his look and smile he understood, and
Continuing he told me so. “People on their way sometimes stand
Just over there,” he pointed to a stone,
“To think about it for a moment.  But no one goes on alone.”

I nodded looking where he had pointed
The stone glistening as if by morning dew anointed.
It was unremarkable, really, the stone I mean,
Old as stones are, flat on top.  Except that it was green
Almost as the grass waving in the slightest wind
Is green in June after late spring rains.

“Yes,” he said reading my thoughts about the stone, “It is
Old and new at the very same time.  It marks the way
Beside the path we are walking on.  I put it there to stay.”
The glint of happiness in his eyes softened the steel,
The edge I heard his voice take on  as he stopped, turned
And smiling put an arm around my shoulder.  “Let’s go on,”
He said, then stopped again turning me.  “Do you know who I am,”
He asked, still smiling, steel behind.  “I do,” I began
But he raised a hand, “And I know you.”  The words
Themselves moved.  Moved into me as if I’d heard, no, not heard
But shared the thought that formed them and was shared
In turn, completely. In the hearing and the thought
I was opened and unfolded, all of me, in what must
Have been the merest instant.  I shook.  “Why,”
He said, and then continued, “Do not be afraid
I’ve known you for so long; all you’ve done, choices made,
The deepest fears, sublimest joys and the regrets.
I’ve seen them all take place.  Now you’re here and I forget
All that made me sad for you when you were there
About to burst with joy or bent in agonies of despair.”

I hadn’t noticed that we had reached the top
And only a few steps more to take before we’d stopped
At what I’d come to think of as the throne of God.
And then I noticed that he’d left me and now stood
Apart the blue bird hovering by his head.



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