A word from the light, a flash from the dark

The light flows toward the earth, the river toward the sea, and these do not change. The air changes, as the mind changes at a word from the light, a flash from the dark

Sabbaths 2000 VI (extract) in Given by Wendell Berry


God said to Moses, "I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' Exodus 3:14

Pausing again between ages, as a tree between gusts or tippler before his drinks. Here's another means of helping us through the stages ...poetry.

The mind changes at a word from the light

Before the immense and unchanging God there are two responses – words and more and more of them, a tumble of metaphor after metaphor is needed. Or there’s silence. Emptiness, space as the mystery and immensity of God overwhelms us. Poetry seems to straddle both, to regally wave to both word and silence. It often uses clipped and spare language and aims to point, to alter and take us beyond itself. ‘A word from the light, a flash from the dark’, like a fish leaping from deep water.

What is converts us

I don’t think I need to appreciate poetry so much as allow its spareness. There’s the odd word or phrase to galvanise memories, to clarify thought and name feelings - to both echo my own embryonic sense of God's presence and propel or draw me into that empty space where God resides. Poetry's gaze is fixed upon What is, the offspring of I AM. Their words flash and reach and point to the unchanging God who in turn changes.

Again Wendell Berry (Sabbaths 1999, IX) - The incarnate word is with us, is still speaking, is present, always, yet leaves no sign but everything that is.