(This poem is dedicated to Beryl Singleton Bissell, whose book of this name
reveals her love affair and sometime contretemps with God. I thank her for
graciously consenting to a poetic adoption of her wonderful book title.
The poet makes no claim of representing her thoughts; these are his own.)
The Scent of God
To speak of deity
is automatic blasphemy
inside the gallery of man.
the power beyond the stars,
who listens in when his
creation cries and sighs
and tactfully reminds him
of the plight of poor benighted
creatures on that speck of dust
that floats upon the milky way...
this grand old man between
the galaxies who loves and hates
according to the chirps
on planet earth...the triune spirit
who with cosmic skill unleashes
lightning on his enemies,
salvation on his friends,
and tomblike mystery to shroud
his everlasting court.
He is thought to come some day,
but in the interim, a sometime friend
who dwells quite far away for most of us
our eyes turn far off from the skies,
our cup is emptied of his blood,
and we consent to do the listening.
Thereupon, the tongue is bound,
the breath will bear Jerusalem
unbreathed, the senses yield but for
a single vapor on the air,
the everlasting mystery ineffable
that is the scent of God.