She wore no shoes, confessed no clues, even as she taunted
rules only made for summer schools. She had dark hair, a pliant
stare, and blithely moved through fractured air without resistance,
without care. For hers were the kingdoms of the fragrant and fair.
And her scepter was power everywhere.
But Joshua, laden with care, did not dare to greet her.
Then she faded away, in the heat of an August day.
- 17 -
It was the simulacrum of a dream. Or so to others it would often
seem. A madman’s state of mind we cannot glean. A bird of prey
with vision all too keen. Suspended high above and in between
the hope that dreams say more than they can mean.
And Joshua awakened cold and covered in a moonlit sheen.
Martin Luther could not leave confessionals at bay. He lived within
recycled sin resistant to decay. Try as he might he could not fight
the curse within the clay. And so did soul and circumstance divert
themselves one day.
Spirits do not boast but pay witness to the host. They parse the
terror and the horror, not the dolor or the farce. And seek to
release a brodequined bone and draperies of flesh from a
sparrow’s home, elevated and alone.
And Catherine sends her legions forth, to embolden Joan on her
journey north, towards a trembling star. And her only trace is the
wind on your face, blowing from afar.
- 18 -
Now we go further back to fill a conspicuous gap. Age is hearsay,
says the sage. When we think we came to be is elemental
mythology. One day Joshua asked a friend, “Does philosophy
have a patron saint to help secure its end?” On November 25th of
a misplaced year she called from Huntsville to reveal Saint
Catherine as the keeper of the seal. The learned Catherine of the
elevated wheel, whose voice led Joan to her choice and her
appeal. And so was Joshua born on the feast-day of a tortured
form. The feast day of philosophy in the shadow of a dragon tree.
- 20 -
A rose is a rose, as everyone knows. But what deeper truths do
tautologies disclose? With Cordelia dead, and through tears that
burn, Lear will discern, as best he can, that “a man is a man.” And
this will have taken a lifetime to learn.
But we have not yet seen how tautologies mean.
Let’s study an ocean in slow motion. A man is . . . what?
Tall? Strong? A warrior? An heir? Here? Near? Over there?
As Eckhardt’s daughter, we can only stare. And answer, “A man,”
against expectation of predication common or rare. It means, as
humor, by thwarting what we expect. Denying our sense of what
must come next.
And knowledge is a demonstration of just such expectation.
And its walls confine as prevarication.
But rigor demurs. Finding reason to doubt what we think must
As the past is a prison. And this the way out.
We wallpaper the future with prints from the past. And marvel that
pain can last and last.
As if guesswork were gain, and rigor too plain.
As if two things could ever be the same.
But that they cannot is what we forgot in journeying far from Eden.
- 97 -
From The Books of Joshua © 2008