Here all the mighty palaces of kings,
And all the garnered splendour of our state,
Waver and burn against a darkling sky,
Seared by that wind which from the desert springs.
We, who would trumpet immortality
And own the pride of all our hands have wrought,
Must bow before the words, “This, too, shall pass,”
And own our awful insufficiency.
Here, to stand still within the screaming void,
Where our desires play out a thousand notes,
Shredding the lies of our imagined selves,
Letting their neat erections be destroyed.
Here, to admit the shadow: dark desire
Claws at our minds, but does so from within.
We are, ourselves, the empty promises,
We are the ones who lit our own strange fire.
We are the ones who mouth of penitence
As an opinion reached. We never kneel
On the bare stones in the past-midnight hour,
Flaming to ash in self-grief’s turbulence.
We are the dead unless Life comes in grace,
Comes with the burning coal, the heart aflame,
Shatters us with the nakedness of love,
Bound to Himself in cruciform embrace.