The Fire and the Rose


The end is where we start from. – T.S. Eliot

I.

Red

The light breaks in

To the grey stone 

Chapel

Dappled gems of light

Upon the crucifix

The fire

And the rose

And the offering

Of the world’s heart.

Here 

It is no ending

And no beginning

But the hovering

Of a white gull

On a white draft

And for a moment,

The stillness

Of waiting for nothing

At all; all has happened

Or will happen

The beginning

And the ending

Are come

And will come

But in the stillness,

The flight. 

II.

Let what is essential remain.

This is the prayer

Of the trees

In the midst of fire

The ones that drop

Their seed-life

Through the smoke

Content to wait

For a future

They cannot see

   (May not see)

Content to set

The beginning and endings

Aside, and 

In the stillness,

To wait. 

Time ripens

And to be

Outside of time –

To taste the fruits

Of yesterday

And tomorrow –

Is to offer them

Into the wine of today.

Red, red, runs the wine.

III. 

Hemmed desire sprouts

A bitter leaf

Across the pond. 

Stagnant waters

Skimmed only by the

Footprint of the gull,

The jeweled beads

Of light. 

All that channels

Out your slimy hoard

You will call suffering.

But inward fresh

The waters come

And bitter leaves

Will flower with delight. 

IV. 

It is enough to say

That we have drunk

The wine of living

These long days

It is enough 

To say it happened

And to offer it

Into wine,

Into seed,

Into the fire

And the moist earth. 

Now, the gull hovers

And the wine sits

And the seed waits

In the dark winter night

And in the stillness, 

The flight.

Let what is essential remain.

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