Scored in Bread

What am I to do with
this lack of You that
haunts my every
breath.

You take residence in
my soul as sorrow;
in my body as hunger;
in my mind as I find
myself dreaming You
again and again.

And yet.

I tasted You at table;
saw You scored in bread;
felt my thirst slaked
for a time as you sated softly
my ache for Your making
me into a host to Your
visitation.

You sit across from
me now wholly
strange, and yet
so intimate that
my tears Yours, and
Your tear, me.

Formed in the Deep

Night,
you haunt me,
hunt me and
spear me. Through
my chattering heart
your lance pierces
my island of dreams.

In the geography of the dark
you try me, you play me
with a joy here,
with a fear there.
Now my passion is
pushed beyond
boundaries.

If only I could steer
these dreams…
what pleasures
might visit the night!
I would eat at a sacred grove;
I would consume a canyon;
would devour mountains; and
take in each valley, feeding
my heart with desire.

But no, this is not to be.
Now is not the time for daydreams.
The hard work of night beckons, calling
me to be its matter, formed in this deep.

Of Elves and Such

Last night was spent in Borgarfjarðarhreppur, which derives its name from Álfaborg, meaning “town of elves.” Ancient legend has it that this part of Iceland is ripe with elves, and there is a fairly substantive hill overlooking this quaint town and welcoming harbour that is purported to be the home of many elves, and in some reports, the home of the Elf Queen.

I have heard a variety of reports on how many Icelanders believe in elves, ranging from 60 to 80 percent. Tales are told of bad luck attending those who mess with elf habitations. There is a sign on the elf hill in Borgarfjarðarhreppur suggesting that those who walk in these environs do well to do so with respect.

Our city tour guide in Reykjavik reported that belief in elves is BS and thought these to be tales told to enforce morals in children, much as has been suggested for the Grimm fairy tales, for instance. On the other hand, our own tour TourMagination guide reported that the good folk in Borgarfjarðarhreppur regularly avoided the shortest route to the nearest village because of a menacing mythical creature on the fjord who pushed more than a few people over the cliff resulting in their demise. Eventually, a strong soul in the 16th century took on this force, and managed to land him, or her, in the drink in order to secure a short, and safe, route for the villagers. A cross was erected to mark the spot and remind folk of the victory won. Insofar as the story represented a hold on the imaginations of the adults, these tales seemed to be more than a tool used by parents to whip their children into shape. Adults, too, were shaped by these tales.

It is not altogether hard to understand why people in these locales held and hold (if the polled reports are to be believed) beliefs in mystical and mythical creatures. The landscape in Iceland, where the earth stretches high and the sky reaches low invites one to imagine, if not see, a meeting of the earthly and heavenly, a kind of world where it is very easy to believe in elves, dwarves, trolls, etc. What cannot be seen is believed because the unimaginable is happening before your very eyes: clouds are swallowing mountains, and the seas are fingering their way into the land. Borders are being pierced everywhere, and souls not piloted by hard, cold reason alone might imagine that things are more complicated than they first appear.

Perhaps, then, there is a place (or places) between “BS” and “literally true.” Perhaps this hankering after mythical creatures is a symbol, or sign, of human hungering for some permeability of boundaries between the earthly and the spiritual; or perhaps more accurately, these tales are symbolic representations of peoples’ experiences of the earthly/heavenly becoming porous. Within Christianity, for instance, the message of the birth of God as the infant Jesus is precisely this: earth being touched by heaven, and the fervent hope of believers in this religion – and some others too – is that there is more to life than meets the eye; for some this “more” is experienced. Perhaps behind these tales that we wink at, exists a deep human hope for and foretaste of a kind of homecoming that abides, eternally.

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This is the home of a good many elves, I’ve been told.

Into My Desire

How is it that You stay away
but still dwell more deeply
in me: You the Horizon
swallowing an ocean tanker whole;
You the Sea that tides my desire
over and over and over again;
You this perpetual Ache that
washes me from head to toe
so that I know nothing of
myself save wanting of You.

Now, this orange I taste is Your lip
this wind on my arm Your finger tip
this warmth of sun Your breath on my neck
and this spirited laugh that wells from within
is now Your Spirit, spinning me round
and round until I collapse into
my Desire, into You.

Aching for You

Another day passes
without You, and
yet I know that
You’re there.
You, in
the crook of branch, in
the taste of wine
enlivening tongue, in
little and big deaths both.
You arrive in the
kaleidoscope of colours
as candle-light
refracts on the slick of
tears streaking down
the cheek of
this face, that
aching for
You.

Veni Domine

A glimpse of You is
never enough. This
desire for Your Breath
flooding my lungs fills
me with more wanting You;
with more aching after You.

You, God, are
the Desire by which I
desire You.
You, God, are
the Hunger that is
sated with hunger
for You.
You, God, are
each kiss of life;
each touch of love;
each turn of the season
that turns me inside out
as Your reign surely comes.

Veni Domine.

Something in the Empty

Boxes everywhere, and
all emptied save for
air, now a cypher
for hopes both
disappointed,
and fulfilled.

“The day after,” too,
is sacred with rattled
bows unleashing oceans of
questions asking after
what we will.

These empty boxes
hold a potent
absence and are a
mirror of
sorts inviting us
to peer
into the void where
we finally
glimpse our desire.

Amidst this disarray of
Boxing Day, order may
well evade us, but meaning
presses hard against the
dis/content; there
is something in
the empty.