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Seeking and Arriving

Advent poems - Simeon in the temple - Poems for Advent about seeking and arriving, the coming of the Light. Poems of infinite age and infinite youth personified in Simeon and Jesus in the temple..When you arrive, you lose the wayfarer. When you find, the seeker vanishes. The conditions of coming and seeking are like second nature – the one is as certain and familiar as an old pair of shoes, the other a coat under your arm for when the weather turns. Old Simeon, in the Bible story, could not, would not die until he had seen the Coming One. I imagine that he had turned his mind to ice so that it would be sharp and clear at the end – which was also a beginning. The Spirit guided him to the temple and he set eyes upon the infant Jesus. At last the ice could thaw and he was free to go.

The deepest arrival of all is when the Light comes to human beings and human beings to the Light. You can say the path has been prepared, you can say you’ve been coming for a long time, and seeking. But to arrive? I can’t imagine this except to say that it is something which happens inside, in the temple. I’m short of words, I need to thaw. And after that? What did Jesus say to his disciples? Go out into the world, be as I am. Leave your shoes, do not carry a second coat, take no money. If you are not welcomed in a village then shake the dust off your feet as you leave it.

The poems below are concerned with age and completion, with coming and arrival. I don’t know if I’m a Simeon or a disciple. I don’t know if I’m the road which needs no straightening or filling. When two old men at the start of day stopped to talk then heaven was borne a few words closer. Maybe the words are mine. Perhaps we draw heaven closer by what we say. Infinite age and infinite youth are present in the story of Simeon and Jesus. I’m not sure how I can draw any closer than that.


Two Old Men

Two old men at the start of day
stopped to talk – and the moss grew slow,
and the logs beneath it rolled not an inch,
and heaven was borne a few words closer,
when two old men stopped to talk.
No word of theirs cared to change a thing,
not to straighten the road, or fill its holes,
or beg the sun to slow down its pace.
Yes, Time has mopped its brow and sighed a sigh -
why bear the future on your weary back
when all is enough, and all is enough?
Two old men at the start of day
stopped to talk – and the moss grew slow.


You’ve Arrived

‘You’ve arrived’, said the voice in the mist,
at the strange hour of meantime before dawn -
yet trees had not become trees, birds were cloth,
and earth hardly conceived. ‘You’ve arrived.’
My heart’s skipped a few beats in the coming
and I prayed for ice in the mind, to see,
see as old Simeon in the temple
saw and then thawed as the end began.
‘You’ve arrived’. I can’t say where I’ll go now -
most like without shoes or second coat,
and shake the dust off my feet at the door
when I’m not welcomed in. Arriving
is an odd word for where you’ve always been.


Best wishes, today,

Picture: Simeon and the Christ Child by Rembrandt

© Landar 2012. All rights reserved
You are welcome to quote from Light on the Page on the condition that you cite the author and the source: Author: Jay Landar. Source: For other permissions please contact the author.

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