Sitting in Michael's Lap
I dreamt a dream of journey's path that chased the setting sun,
Whereby to seek a mystery with secrets to be won.
‘Cross many miles, I traveled long beneath this foreign sky,
To find the place that called to me although I knew not why.
O'er ocean stretched in greenest blue as far as eyes could see,
Where mountains towered – wardens grim – but none would hinder me;
I sped as only dreams can fly, to shame the eagle's pride,
With naught but hope beneath my wings and longing as my guide.
I landed in a valley wide, where forest cradled plain,
So vivid bathed in sylvan hue the sight was nearly pain.
Its quiet beauty stilled my breath – twas such a gloried scene –
In silent awe, I stretched my foot to touch the velvet green.
The grass was balm to weary step; no richer carpet made
Than stretched in gentle verdancy before this mystic glade.
Of health and hope the breezes smelled, and richly of decay,
Reminding me that all which burns much surely fade away.
The light was tempered well with dark and yet, it held no fear:
I ne'er had seen the Circle turn so flawlessly as here.
My feet unbidden moved, as though they knew what waited there,
And bore me through the ancient trunks in attitude of prayer.
I came, at last, upon a wall with ivy overgrown,
Which breathed with life where fragile vines lay siege to silent stone.
I followed them to oaken gates swung welcoming and wide:
The forest paled in bleak compare to what I found inside.
Embraced by walls, an orchard stood, with fruit of every hue,
And tapestries of rarest blooms beneath the branches grew.
And Death passed not within these walls – no taint of brown was seen –
No petal fell from countless buds to mar the perfect green;
Though boughs were laden well with fruit, not one had fallen free:
And pleas for harvest at my hand rung clear from ev'ry tree.
I wandered ‘twixt the twisted trunks in awe, like any child,
My heart unmade and born anew – its rhythm fierce and wild –
It was as Time crept slowly here; my feet could know no haste.
Each limb proffered a richer prize, and I could not but taste.
Their juices stained my eager lips and danced along my tongue,
And each was sweeter than the last. My spirit fairly sung
In aching notes of ecstacy as pleasure claimed my will,
And though I ate of ev'ry tree, I could not have my fill.
To garden's heart I came at last, and there, a wonder found:
A crystal column skyward climbed from out the fertile ground!
Its surface round and polished smooth, it shimmered in the sun,
And in its heart, a pedestal of finest glass was spun.
And there, atop the sculpted shrine, was placed in reverence
A fruit whose flesh was so divine it filled my every sense.
Unquenchable my thirst became, save this should be my wine:
I vowed to see the temple breached and make the idol mine.
My desperate fingers sought the place where entry I might gain,
But though they hunted many days, their efforts were in vain:
As though, in guard, stood Gabriel, with sword of holy flame,
This fortress of fragility prevented me the same.
As sure as bastions iron-bound, it stood in mockery,
And only served to whet my thirst for that which tempted me.
Now evermore, I only sit upon eternal grass
And press my face with haunted eyes against impassive glass;
Ensorcelled by this vision bright, and blind to all, I pine,
Amidst the plenty starved, for want of what cannot be mine.
Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made,
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange...
--William Shakespeare, from The Tempest