Thursday, August 12, 2004


The sun beats on me as on a drum.

They refreshed the reflective white paint of the crosswalk carelessly, so that the pavement all around it is dusted with reflective paint. As I cross the street, I walk in the center of a circular rainbow hovering, it seems, half an inch above the wavering blacktop.

Above, the pale blue sky is filled with great whorls, spiral arms made of tiny rectangular tiles of brilliant white cloud, stiff yet twisting like a Byzantine mosaic, and down by the horizon are sullen humps of distant thunderheads. I walk by exhausted rhododendrons. Pick a brown shrunken flower-corpse. To my surprise it is supple and responds to my fingers. Not dead, not stiff. Nothing can be quite dead today. Worn, fragile, faint, loved to gasping by the overbearing sun, but not dead.

I think of Paul, the best and the worst thing that ever happened to the West. Childish, quarrelsome, opinionated, overwhelmed by Love and by the insufficiency it revealed in him, the greatest poet of his age, the refractor of the mystery that walked out of Nazareth. We are made in his nervous, unstable image.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

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