My God my bright abyss
into which all my longing will not go
once more I come to the edge of all I know
and believing nothing believe in this:
And there the poem ends. Or fails, rather, for in the several years since I first wrote that stanza I have been trying to feel my way –to will my way–into its ending. Poems in general are not especially susceptible to the will, but this one, for obvious reasons, has proved particularly intractable. As if it weren’t hard enough to articulate one’s belief, I seem to have wanted to distill it into a single stanza. Still that is the way I have usually known my own mind, feeling through the sounds of words to the forms they make, and through the forms they make to the forms of life that are beyond them. And I have always believed in that “beyond,” even during the long years when I would not acknowledge God. I have expected something similar here. I have wanted some image to open for me, to both solidify my wavering faith and ramify beyond it, to more than I can say.