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  • Writer's pictureMichael Martin

Reading Boehme on the Darkest Day of the Year

The following is a poem from my collection Meditations in Times of Wonder and written on a Winter Solstice six years ago or so. I think it was while I was also writing The Submerged Reality. A solstice meditation.

Reading Boehme on the Darkest Day of the Year

What is it that causes a flock of starlings, all at once,

To wheel, turn, or tumble in the magnificent breathing

Of their migration, rising from bare oak trees, swamp maples,

And alders, from telephone wires and cracked asphalt,

Falling onto withered meadows, dry bean fields, and housetops,

Their voices filling the horizon with fire?

Three days of rain: a constant drizzle punctuated with the occasional

Deluge melted the ten inches of snow that fell five days before.

The grass, out of sight for such a short time, had

Lost its weak green and turned a putrid shade of amber. All this,

Against the grey of the day, suggested I look for other signatures.

The pond reflected only darkness, and a grey heron—

Apparently not interested in migration—

Walked upon its black surface like an illusionist.

I read somewhere that the universe is a hologram,

A dynamic representation of movement and flux,

A part disclosing the whole, the whole ensouling each part.

Cars rattle down our muddy road, headlights unable to penetrate

The fog and drizzle, appearing and disappearing with all the poverty

Of imagination. The hens no longer lay, mice nibble at russets in the cellar,

And we count the dwindling pennies in the bank.

I know this poem’s supposed to be about Boehme, but I can’t focus

My attention on his text. I can’t tear my gaze from its obsession

With all that is broken, all that is grey and dying in the reality of appearances,

With all that is hidden or disclosed in the dark tensions between love and anger.

I crouched near the hive and placed my ear to the wood:

The thrum of bees in their vocation, generating warmth to preserve the queen.

We search through the greyness for the kiss,

For the place where bread and wine are no longer bread and wine,

For a place to place the weakness of our inconsequential gifts,

And deliver ourselves to the consequences of ultimate humility,

The part disclosing the whole, and the whole ensouling each part.

Michael’s latest books are an edition of The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz and Transfiguration: Notes toward a Radical Catholic Reimagination of Everything. He can be reached at See also The Center for Sophiological Studies' available courses. Also check out the latest volume of Jesus the Imagination: The Garden.

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