Wednesday, June 20, 2018

"Tohu va-vohu" by John C. Mannone

תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ
Tohu va-vohu 
 John C. Mannone
                   After Genesis 1:2

"Abyss" Ink on Paper
By J. Artemus Gordon
My imperfections help make me

perfect. Like a face in a cracked mirror,
each broken piece shows the whole
smile despite the shattered fragments
of self-image catching in my throat.

But if I thought I were perfect, I would
have the greatest imperfection—blindness
to my own mottled spots on the skin
of my soul, even as I stare.

In the beginning, Earth was created
perfect, but because of the Lord
of Flies, it became a rotting place
formless and void. It was not good.

My heart used to be amorphous,
without purpose. It too was not good.
But when I let you into my world,
you filled all my hollow spaces

with the clear balm of grace, hope
no longer fractured, nor your light
refracted, my mirror, broken. I am
whole again, not aimless, empty.

Poet’s Notes: The title is taken from the Hebrew in the Book of Genesis, which means formless and void, in reference to the planet Earth, before it teamed with life. Other language in this poem also points to the language in Genesis. Despite our imperfections, however they arise, there is hope of love and purpose for humankind in our relationship with our mates and in a spiritual context, too.

Editor’s Note:  In the final two stanzas, John leaves “you” and “your” in lowercase.  These pronouns could still mean “God” but could also mean another special someone.  The ambiguity is deliberate.

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