To Saint Julian
To Saint Julian..
I have not heard of you,
I have not seen you.
Some strange distant figure;
An emerging, imaginary presence with an unexpected
gift in hand.
Within your four walls, the small rectangle looks out.
You look within.
The sides of your cell are roughly marked and mottled.
You play with light,
which moving across the day casts itself into
union with your mind;
on the source of our reason to live on.
Our reason to love, even within the pain;
The darkness we fear around us;
The black nights we all must face when forced into
our own heart’s cell;
the confines of
our humble place.
It is not the now, the then, the will be...
I see all three
in one small speck
which running down splatters, splinters, the hardness...
of all dimensions
of our being.
Catastrophe brought us a gift in Christ’s falling;
One who was God, and also man.
Is this so? If true, my heart cries childishly for warm embrace.
A cover hangs white on your arm ,
ready to wrap around me.
I need a way forward...
the indistinct marks of the walls enclose.
I push through, unknowing, into the Spirit which first bore me;
Make certain the gentle ring, containing all which took away my joy.
I recall how misty fear raged, spitting brimstone, not from another world, but from ours;
Sometimes we see only hurt, in the living of life.
Oh mother me, my God and maker.
Mother me with all I hardly knew , but cried for;
Fill absent time with your presence.
Being wounded is not hard. All enter in
to our own cell, make our vacant space full, but still remain empty.
How far we have fallen!
Yet, there is the always the holding.
You are holding.
You circle me.
Is this true, Maker of our being?
That you did not tear us away from the milk of your sustaining,
or reject us, leaving us alone,
But rather the general state of things hid your love
for one fleck of eternity?
(though it does seem long, when eyes see only brokenness).
But you came God, incarnate.
And light changes; It changes everything.
Our image alters,
In the light.
You are with us.
I look back to you , St Julian, in the refuge you took, because life is not easy.
“All is well” your voice came to me
not as platitude, nor even a passing peace;
Rather as hope, because Christ’s love is better than life.
We look beyond, look through, and look within.
Our search is not in vain.
Life hits hard each tender mortal who struggles forward,
Clothed in the flesh that does not cover
Our multitude of sin.
See the blows of life on our bodies
But see too, God’s covering
within the blood of our new birth
and hear the Christ-breath; a mother’s voice
“All is well”.
jenny meehan 23 Jan 2013
Above: The Comforter/St Julian Painting by Jenny Meehan.
The writings of St Julian of Norwich have been a good find for me.