"In the Winter of Words"
In the winter of words,
When bodies grow cold and dry,
When winds do buffet earth and sky,
When spirits turn to changing winds,
Then breath begins to soar and cry.
In the winter of my words,
Breath shall reassess and try,
Try to fathom earth and sky,
Try the thoughts of heart and mind,
Try my soul that it may cry,
Cry inside for my wanderings,
Cry within and mourn,
Sigh with such moans of misery,
Sigh by means of silence,
That in my silence I may cry!
For silence cries more shrill than howls,
Cries harsher as we die,
As we fathom miseries,
Fathom heaven's mysteries,
Come to our selves before we die.
In the winter of my words,
May my soul then learn to cry,
Cry for all my failings,
Cry for all I've done,
Cry for others, as another hath once done!
May I, in winter, do the undone,
Search and seek and find,
Search and seek that change of mind,
And yet how can one repay--seek as well one may?
Minding all that's left undone!
For all the words one's mind can say
Are words of winter hoping for a turn,
The may of flowers,
A may that comes from showers,
For the springtime of procession that always knows return.
The turning leaves us so to learn,
To learn the vanities of life's joys,
To learn the vanities of a life that toys,
That toys with strings of heart and reins,
That toys with pleasures and with pains!
That whirling cycle seeks to claim,
To claim the mastery of thought's own trains,
Trains which must needs be reclaimed,
Reclaimed for all their worth and meaning,
Reclaimed for all their seeds and strains.
Now, in the winter of my words,
The mind begins to yearn and cry for spring,
For springs of wonders and delights,
For a font of knowledge and of might,
For power, energy, and a fight!
That fight shall come with age and winter,
That fight shall define all victory,
That fight shall define all failures,
Failures to rise to our source,
Failures to follow the ancient course!
That course was set of old and by one,
Forerunning into kingdom come,
Forerunning into heaven's throne,
For us having bled and died,
For us having overcome!
In that winter thou didst cry,
In that winter thou didst die,
And yet our springtime still hath come,
Come to mind and heart and soul,
Come to those in dark misery's toils.
In the winter of our lives,
Bursting bonds of darkness and of hells,
Bursting mortal death and hell,
Forging keys to death and hades' realms,
Thou hast reforged thy flesh with fire, an enemy so to fell,
To fell by a Spirit of holiness,
To fell by glory and of light,
To lighten burdens born of fright,
The frights of fear, the frights of death,
The frights of suffocating without breath.
But now our breathing is renewed,
Unbroken bones, uncorrupted flesh renewed,
Re-fused with spirit, soul, and life,
Refusing any more to die,
Yet reversion has one final thing to try!
For though the darkness saw defeat,
Though light had shined on me and thee,
Yet undone were the forty-days to avail
Of learning mysteries burning hearts and veils,
Veils now torn in knowing,
Veils now suffused by light,
Veils now torn in supping with the immortal light,
The light that filled the full-red moon,
The light that filled the dark of night
With flesh-red stains of blood and might,
Waiting for that one last flight,
The flight that all again shall see,
And to it bend the knee,
Flesh taken up, returning again for all to see!
Arise, O Lord, into thy might,
Forget not ark and mother's plight,
For we of red-clay earth are made and sealed,
That we, while seeing night,
Might witness to thy light,
That seeking light we may struggle unto blood,
Seeing our blood crying out on high,
On that altar in the sky,
Where breath and flesh are now enthroned,
Whence breath hath now, and to us, come,
From whence our flesh and blood will come,
Come again with a sign in heaven,
Come again as nations mourn,
Come again as winters wane and cedars groan,
For all is vain, even devil's might,
For all is vain in anti-christ,
And two witnesses shall die
In like manner with one 'metastasized',
And shall rise to glory, to apocalyptic grim,
But grim alone to those of them,
To them who glory not in truth's love,
Love that wooed truth down to ground,
For thus, through sorrows, we have found,
Found our winter born again,
Found our words alive in Him.
And so in the winter of my words,
I seek for such a promised land,
And I, in silence, find the only word,
The only word in whom winter can
Have any word or meaning at all!
(By Hierodeacon Parthenios)