This week I have written a poem called “Woke Robin” that Doug Balliett is putting to music at the noon mass. The poem is based on Revelations 21, a favorite passage of mine, the second reading of the mass today, that I often have the groom in a wedding read to welcome the bride. “Revelation” as such simply means “lifting the veil.” Marriage was typically the first time that the groom would meet his bride. The tradition became a metaphor for the second coming of Jesus Christ. In Revelations 21 the bride is the “New Jerusalem” a city coming out of heaven with twelve gates for each of the twelve tribes of Israel, which became a way of saying in religious terms that the bride will be the mysterious and mystical “person” of all the nations of those washed clean in the blood of the lamb. I am including in the poem references to Robert Frost’s Directive written in 1947 where he plots the path out of war and violence into a resolution achieved by innocence, a force of rebirth. In essence what we mean as Christians by “Easter.” It will happen “all of a sudden” but in such a way as will be comprehensible to the believers, the delicate Woke Robins of history.
Thou bride that cannot be seen
but everywhere is visible,
is it you lifting your veil as you descend?
The gates of every month bend
about your hips.
Tribes made to ride water and the memory of iron
are flowing into you. They turned into gold, that is to say
they their own light possessed.
The dragon’s suave voice sends rustling
flanks of beetles as shadow ranks about the waterless plain.
Cloud tumble follows along and rushing ahead
and overtakes every false intention, every lie.
A third of all mankind has been swept away
along with a third of all stars.
A moment ago these were mountains
filled with water and wrath.
árti (H -ARE tea – Greek for Just now)
that all-of-a-sudden new heaven and new earth.
You will see because you have seen already.
Wake Robin, the red flower appears out of stinkweed
bracing still against a glacier’s stampede.
It is a sign of what were once tears is now a spring.
Broken cups and dishes fuse as innocence
pervades every living thing.
May 11, 2022
26th Anniversary to the Priesthood
Fr. Andrew O’Connor