2. A Child of Heaven

(Recalling his youth as a believer in Heaven, where God gave Meaning and Purpose, Joel paints a picture of the way things were just before the world rose up and overthrew the long-hallowed God of tradition…)



High on Elysian clouds, eternal Dawn

Was breaking, gilding oceanic plumes

Of indigo and purple with the glint

Of peach, and dappled streaks of orange thick haze

And billowed mists were pouring, sun-spilt, out

On Overworld. And like the emerald glow

Of prickled spires which emanate at dusk

From old Cologne, so, soaring up (atop

A wonderhead of foggy outcrop) perched

The Castle, Crystalline Cathedral, LORD’s

Elysium: green diamond-glassy Church

And beryl Palace, in the steam of sunrise…

Far off, the frothed horizon swept a Breeze

Soft-voiced (half wind, half faded choir) that blew

The wispy vapors from the violet brume

And left them gold… In such a whispered noise,

Field, field on amethyst- and orchid-wool

Stretched out foreverward, east-west, caressed

By Mystery, and an angelic lull

That lost the shadowed lilacs in their folds

Like something precious. Time…was everywhere,

And I was still a boy, as Heaven’s arms

Held me in innocence, and all the world

And all my hopes: caught up like something soft

And wonder-full within a Shepherd’s cloak.


Inside, in Heaven’s temple, who could know

What Earth was plotting? All was still. We kept

Our perfect stations in the symmetry

Of ritual—calendric Feast on Feast

Revolving in accordance to His Will

And order; Angels, interspersed; and all

Awaiting entrance of the LORD, our God

And Father…


And then… at last… A surge of Consequence.

Like swelling music from beyond the wall…

A tide of Meaning, as it lapped the Doors

With All—made every idle chest inhale

Like realization, fall to bow, and throw

Ecstatic eyes (first wide, then lidded-over)

In blissful ah at Ah’s epiphany

Toward the entrance of the trembling hall!

There, like the reddening of an awful heat

Upon some smelted metal, tingling Sense

Spread deep significance on everything

In march before Him: signal of approach,

which flourished Purpose for Divinity

And turned all ambiance to Sign.

For on

He comes, and makes surroundings substantive,

As if the Doors that hid Him still were keys

To living’s Mysteries. He comes…He comes!

All Heaven—on our knees! The Seraphim

are singing, cherubs chanting, bending wings—

To see the LORD! to see the awesome LORD!

And, with the mystics, bask in His existence!


At last, the Holy Doors—they groaned ajar

Striking adjacent walls to roll their roar

And rumbling, deep and echoed through the hall—



I n g l o w s t h e G o d !


And all was light and laureled.



Look! His flaming robes stream out beyond His heels

In billows gulping like a sonic-boom

Or burl—and, at His Coming, all the room

Fell low—which matched this lightning of His entrance

With thunder of their own.

Upon the air

Lord יהוה glides, as, through a choral wind

Of holy incantations—murmuring

Like bees, or women’s voices, waterfalls,

And nerves—all emanating from His sides—

God’s placid gaze swept forward like a sun,

And yet more certain, yet more terrifying:

A bearded Diamond in an aura-light

That burned

Still, on He comes and, at His Feet:

Enigma Creatures: churning chariots

Of Mysteries—face lion, calf, or ox

(and winged like eagles)—while, like flowing dye,

Jehovah floods the aisle to take His Throne—


And the Glory of God engulfed the room.


I watched Him then ascend the silver dais,

Washing His Splendor on the burning chair

As blazing Mysteries lapped round the base.


Then—bars of light!—like licking winds, His robes—

He turned to take the thousands in His Sight

And golden view: a praising panoply

Of Heaven’s endless retinue, all staggered

In strata there: our sea awaiting sign

Whose nodding blessing from Divinity

Would start the feast.


The breathless, gravid air

Grew thick with expectation…


Till—at last—

The Monarch dimmed: and gave the sign.

Then rings:


B e n e d i c t u s D e u s i n S a e c u l a!”

B e n e d i c t u s D e u s i n S a e c u l a!”

B e n e d i c t u s D e u s i n S a e c u l a!”

B e n e d i c t u s D e u s i n S a e c u l a!”

B e n e d i c t u s D e u s i n S a e c u l a!”

B e n e d i c t u s D e u s i n S a e c u l a!”

B e n e d i c t u s D e u s i n S a e c u l a!”

B e n e d i c t u s D e u s i n S a e c u l a!”

It sings from thousands and from thousands there!

Filling the hollows like a deep cascade—

Whose tapered fading-off, when it should end,

Commenced the Feast of Seven Sleepers and

The decrescendoed echoes of “Amen.”


So banquets Heaven.


Now, Elysium

Swells phosphorescent and aglow with Light,

As high-encircling crowns of Seraphim

Turn ring on ring, concentric and entwined,

And, like a golden galaxy, or swirls

Of the atomic satellites’ ellipse,

Halo the LORD, and gild the Apse’s niche

With auras of eternity.


…And, yet…

There Yahweh sat in splendor, Lion-like—

Ancient of Days, and amber-radiant

(As centuries of Christian precedent

And fixed mechanics of the world prescribed)—

But were there… faults? some weaknesses just God,

With a forbidding sense, was vexed to feel,

And all His troubled Powers tremble at?


Perhaps, in secret niches of His Mind

(His Apse of thought: Holy of Holies kept

Partitioned off from Seraphim and Saints,

And even from the Son himself)—the LORD’s

Serenity had been profaned by dreams

Of fear too unbecoming of a God?

Did signs or omens (recently come on)

Presage some ill or deep disaster worth

The disconcertion of an Emperor

Whose Being turned the Universe…?


In thinking on it now, I cannot say.

But, as I stood before Him then, with all

The singers of my choir, I still recall

Some awkward trepidation as I rose

To hymn His liturgy…


Just then, though,

The Doors FLARED open!—shattering our calm

And lurching all attention toward the entry!

The nestled Zoa, roused in watch, at once

Flew up from Throne their bristling flanks and pulsed

To meet the interruption—power’s chill

Ablaze with holiness as, toward the Doors,

The Living Creatures homed their hundred eyes

And lit the open entrance:

But… in flocked

No enemy—but chief defense for Him

And all Elysium! Saint Michael, Prince

Of Cosmic Powers (flanked by Seraphim

And highest of His Orders) fluttered down

From Heaven’s portals. Then, once on the ground,

The armored Legion stooped, and bowed, and paid

Their proskynesis to the LORD. This served

(And hulking wingspans bended in regard),

Light parted, and, blazing, Michael kneeled with plume

in hand, and spoke.


(Michael announces that Heaven is under attack…)


 

NEXT: Invasion


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