(composed in a church in Montreal)
O My Jesus of the Seasons.
It is effin’ freezing outside
and I am in the pews (again)
impenitent as usual
And here you are…
pretty much chartreuse, I’d say
the in shade for cadavers.
So right with the vermillion robe
drooping on that lilac-grey cross
held aloft by a hollow-eyed deity
with the Reichstag eagle
tatooed on his chest
(some Hitler Youth take
on the dove, no doubt.)
Mister no-eyes has a nimbus
you have a nimbus
(All God’s chillun’ got nimbus)
and there’s Al and Omega –
red, yellow and cryptic
played out against a cubist’s blue galaxy –
And there’s that cross-P thing
I seem to understand intuitively
because my grandfather’s name was Patrick.
And there you are
the colour of a chic cocktail,
lids lowered, but not a wrinkle on your brow.
Ecstatic Introversion – then suddenly
HERE YOU ARE !
(it is a very good window)
and I find myself muttering
saying it to you, my Jesus of the Seasons
assuming innocently that you can hear.
Dying and being born
is what we all do –
with admittedly less panache, I’d say…
although I can think of a few
who could have made Variety
with a decent publicist –
or is that an oxymoron ?
I call myself a Taoist
(when lost or misplaced)
And I’d probably make
a halfway-decent physicist…
but for the time
and for the being
I’m just examining things.
Hinduism is lousy with carcasses
and even Buddhism needs at least four postures
to get the message across.
But you – you petulant Jew –
you’re so succinct.
Pity all your linear-minded fans don’t get it.
How juvenile the creeds we lug around
like crib toys
inexplicably reassuring – or is it just pacifying –
over and beyond the warmth of familiarity.
But you, my bent-kneed chartreuse wonder,
sinking (before my very eyes)
like a seed into late autumn’s earth
to rise triumphant in a couple of months.
You, who saw plainly, that you were
One With The Ground Of Being…
Oh, my Jesus of the Seasons
(To know, know, know him is to love, love, love him)
Or as Pogo might have said:
We have met The Divinity
…and he is us
Coming and going
coming and going
not surprising we never know
since, like you, we are both.
Without your portable telephone pole
you might be a letter unto yourself –
something between a Y and a Z…
some undiscoverd Greek cypher.
It is perhaps unfortunate that this window
(in this here church)
is shaped like a bullet –
or was that gothic stuff
better prophesy than it ever imagined ?
Still, the little niches on either side of the main attraction
do have a quaint tee-pee mode to them:
sweet, if minimal, retribution
for the land and culture the Jesuits raped.
(do they know about “innocent rape,” in Canada ?)
But don’t get me wrong, my beautiful man,
with your burnt umber locks and your punk jewellery,
I will never hold you responsible for all of that
…or the Crusades or the Inquisitions
any more than I held George Washington responsible
for George Wallace,
(and yes, even if the one with the wooden teeth did keep slaves)
Nor is Marx
responsible for Stalin
(What’s after, is after)
O no, my Jesus of the Seasons
I have little quibble with you – as a person –
and, well, as a symbol of Truth
especially here, where the flex of your abdominal muscles
really does suggest a woman’s ass…
No, as a symbol of Truth
you’re as rich as any I ever encountered.
Bending under summer heat,
dying to be born
still and sombre as the snows
(we are, after all
always back each spring
like a bad penny.
Hail to thee, my Jesus of the Seasons
with your flecks of sunlight
and your cool star clusters –
your Yiddish inflection
draws from me a smile I cannot hide
as if there weren’t any difference
between a sacrifice and a shrug
as if you, the great – the greatest – rabbi
were just sighing, azoy gait es…