Spiritus: A poem for Pentecost



De sensibili autem demonstratione spiritus sancti sive per columbae speciem sive per linguas igneas… (Augustine, De Trin. IV.xxi)


As dove to him you came;

To us you come as fire.

Soft, his soul, and smooth

Conformed from conception

To be your habitation.


We, though, are misshapen,

Angular, deformed, refractory.

Like agate eggs our hearts

Are stone

Lined with scattered, shattered spikes,

That surround a light-starved void.


We must be


Burnt clean


And then remade.


You sear and cauterize us, Holy Dove.

You burn long-calcified layers of self;

Blazing, you fill the space within, until

Our molten souls are ready to be


By some almighty potter

Possessed of flame-proof hands.


But when our liquid selves leak out

We gape at what humanity can be

And say that you have given to us gifts.


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