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"