Ascension song


The riven earth trembles
As up-bearing angels
Host him unaware
Who dashed foot and hand and heart
With five open wounds,
Wine-staining his garments red
A shame to Massless spirits.

What king ever bore that hue
In lasting brands of God-filling ink,
As he spiraled up
Past circling spheres
And perfect-pitch choirs,
Past powers, puissant, pointed, preening?

Up, ever up,
Up with a shout,
Up with sinews singing,
Up with timbreled hands,
Up with pulsing, brazen feet,
Up with fluted heart and side,
Up with beaten, bell-tone crown.

It’s not for angels
That Abram’s seed sits scarred
At the right of power.
Nor for healthy, cherubic hordes
That such colored fullness
Dwells bodily in the heaven,
White with horror
At this ray of light
So singularly prismed.

But ‘a little while’ has passed,
And gates must be lifted,
Everlasting doors give way
Before the once-less-than
Fair King in all his beauty,
Man on Heaven’s throne.

The image is of a Wells cathedral altar frontal available here.

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