Seek the LORD and His strength;Below is a poem trying to sort out that question of imaging God. How to say something eternal with finite words, without heresy or mistake? And, secondly, how to retain the art of poetry, or any art, by avoiding cliché and trivializing God? Inevitably, I will endure the ever-present artistic-faith struggle, one I expect to fail continually until I am in Heaven, then catching a glimpse of the Living Father.
Seek His face continually.
--New American Standard Bible
Ars est celare artem.
requires my best clichés:
the old soup kitchen woman,
the disheveled Russian Jew
all babushkaed and bundled
with wrinkled thoughts peeking
from her tattered shawl;
an act of grace from a pastoral looking priest,
scorning with the beginning
of a smile at a grimaced boy whose baseball
and Norman Rockwell predicament
broke the stain glass window;
an older couple clearly matrimonied,
still in love sitting, wrapped together in a rumpled blanket
on a worn Grant Park bench,
unnoticed by Sunday afternoon crowds,
feeding pigeons pleading for attention;
a silent child watching at dusk for
coming stars and sunsets, and other heavenly things,
filled with chiaroscuroed thoughts of the maker and the made,
clarified and distinct with horizon-cum-boundary,
all silhouetted in new moonlight, half as bright as the Bethlehem star—
no images of God are true without a manger, sheep and baby,
all babushkaed like the Jewish woman,
and I should strain to mention
a bloody Cross or empty grave, a stigmataed man,
fish, loaves, chariots and horsemen.
I’d repeat ‘love,’ ‘passion,’
‘sacrifice,’ ‘agape,’ ‘Messiah,’
‘Christ,’ ‘Father,’ and ‘resurrection,’
rambling with ordinary and overused verbiage,
the vocabulary of a Christmas card impresario.
The liars would then grind my words, my pictures,
the syllables still fresh and the symbols still warm
and say, “God is different,”
“Heaven has no image,”
“Man can’t pretend he sees God.”
What God has seen is the Lord’s own pretension;
we are from His love concocted,
becoming all that He imagined, in His image.
My failing could only be not
to bring a newer color of God to their fallen eye.