tremendum et fascinosum…

mysterium tremendum et fascinosum

i said: "woe is me! i am lost, for i am a man of unclean lips…

yet my eyes have seen the king, the lord of hosts!" isaiah 6:5

like isaiah, i, too, have unclean lips, step back,

tremble before the holy that draws me

close. what live coal must purify my mouth

when i answer to the judge? shall i

be judged my law or by the holy

which stands behind it? if i can choose

between edict and the bush that burns

unconsumed, i’ll embrace the implacable torah.

any thug who stumbles

into court might escape between

see-through cracks in the 366 prohibitions

of the law. if i have trouble living in history

with the torah, where are the fissures in teh holy?

i do not speak of antiseptic rectitude,

but fire’s absolute autonomy that scolds me

for putting dirty sandals on glowing cinders,

but invites me to approach barefoot.

–kilian mcdonnell "god drops and loses things"

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