Saturday, January 6, 2018

troubling the waters

No one here but us magpies—one flies overhead—
looking for some shiny thing.
Yellow gorse scrubby flowers bloom next to me: I stand among the sweet straw, which has been filling the air with its warm, amber-hued perfume ever since I arrived.
I want to see the stars out here.
An angel has troubled these waters.

Inside me I reach for something deep as this pool—
A cistern full, creative, bursting,
Gushing with life—feels like it is bursting open.
Standing in the corner of stones twice the weight of me,
tucked in the shade of when the land was lower feels like diving down—memory is a geological descent, a literal excavation—and then to return, to bring the depths to the surface.
An angel once troubled these waters.

Outside me, in the sun, in the wind:
I find it.
It is wild.
I find it, and it doesn’t answer any questions.
It is wild.
“It” is an endless ring of questions:
How do we preserve things?
Stories are made in the present, by moving forward, not looking back.
But if we do not look back, to see where we came from, how will we ever know where to go?
Living in the present means both thinking in a line, which extends both to the past and the future.
What is time here, in this land which time has not spared?
2000 years of garbage have covered up the ground where Jesus walked, a sacrament of 2000 years of human living.

Questions spiral into an endless horizon, until the horizon contracts at the center.
The core of the earth is the cosmos distilled into a single punto,
an an angel troubling the waters.

All the answers dissolve into questions.
The answer is in its presence. It is there.
The cats wander around my legs, around the ruins
Two nuns with bright white and red habits join me in the subterranean maze of crumbling stones
Lavender of an unknown provenance fills the air with bright and warm scents.
Olive trees smell like crushed spices, and ancient waters, troubled by angels.
In the midst of refuse,
of questions, of crowds and chaos,
we seek that one authentic, shiny thing.
The rest is but straw,
which fills the ruins behind Saint Anne’s with amber-colored sweetness,
infused with the incense of sunshine on the chilly Mediterranean May morning.

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