An Ode


“Not having hands and feet or a tongue and mouth

Nor intervening in obvious ways,

I spoke to you with gifts of love and signs.

I pushed that girl toward you and then children

And made that church crowd stoic and austere

Expecting you to grasp them with both hands.

These things would make you happy and give meaning

You were supposed to learn that I am love

And live in such a way as to protect that.

And when the chance of being happy came

Embrace it and support it with virtue.


“The whole of time and space my speaking with you.

A labyrinth where love becomes apparent.

But infidelities and other signs of want

And compromises which will make you fail

In cities which have become solitudes

A social landscape where nothing will happen

Where mere encounters make up for attachments

There, you no longer see how to be guided

Or see how much I love you from the signs.


“Do I have to come there myself,

And show you that I love you

By letting your hateful ways strip me of all?

Do I have to kill myself to prove I love you

And to encourage you to love each other?”


That’s what he would have said, and after twenty hundred years,

When he speaks to me as he does, today

Because there was a sacrifice and death,

He tells me who to trust and to embrace.

Abject before him, without will

Knowing that all things will be well

Faithful to the woman he brought to me

Accepting the success of trade and labour

Adherent of an onerous and strict prayer

I hear the emptiness speak and see the signs of life.

If I drift from the listening, or from the love for him

It will have been my fault, my lack of virtue

But most of all I want to hear his voice

As if he had a mouth and ears and body

And that is sometimes truly how it is.

Design Jason Powell, 2020.

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