Thursday, November 13, 2008

Incognito


“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito. And the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labor is to remember, to attend. In fact to come awake. Still more, to remain awake.”

C.S. Lewis
—Letters to Malcolm

I have seen you.
In glassy, colored, concave mirrors—
just fleeting glimpses.
Perhaps they are nothing more than flash pan,
momentary impressions.
Maybe they are simply figments of my own
eager imaginations.

But in my peripheral vision
(the part of my sight not impeded
by preconceived ideas)
I see the back of you—

I think it is you.
I want it to be you.
I need for it to be you.

I run and try to catch you.
My feet pound the uneven, broken pavement.
The wake of your flying coat becomes
a pulling, drawing filament
connected to me.
I reach forward to grasp

the fleeting glimmer
The undulating wisp
The lingering aroma

of You.

I must follow—
compelled
by the shadowy images
on the backs of my eyelids.
I watch
for any clue
that you have been here.
I turn the corner
searching for the
trailing cloud of your glory**

You seem to elude me.

Are you in disguise?
Are you moving freely about
Incognito
wondering, hoping
your people will recognize you?

Are you delighted when we do?

Are you thrilled when we gasp
and drag in a breath of air?
Because in this brief breath-held moment
we see you face to face—
and you wink.
Then you smile and take off again
wanting and engaging us to follow.

You are traveling incognito—

What beautiful, varied, and tragic disguises you don.
You cloak yourself in the frailty and fragility of the human soul:

The grungy, ragged coat
the risqué, black lace
the four-button sweater
the designer suit
the wounded eyes
the hesitant caution
the polished façade
the angry defense
the pain-filled countenance
the loud bravado
the wary glare
the drug-induced stupor

Only those who will look
beyond and through these
will see you.

In the moment
we peer into
the concave mirrors of another soul--
what we see in their reflection will startle us.

And we will become fully awake.

In each other we will see you.

Incognito.



**William Wordsworth

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