When you hear the revelation, and

by you I mean “I”—false modesty is one

of my best traits—when you hear

the revelation, when you hear the

voice of God is it soothing or is it

grand, grander, awesome, wholly Other,

as the great gothic theologian of awe

wrote, hiding behind Isaiah’s coattails,

as  Holy, Holy, Holy rang out, as

Holy, Holy, Holy echoed off the stone

walls of a grand medieval church—

sterile in its grandeur. Is that what you hear?

Or yet, is it the  gravelly broken glass pain

of the tiny wood panelled and linoleum

floored one room shtibl of graceless grace,

in which  grace pours out of the chazzan’s

mouth like lava from a volcano, like Mount

St. Helen’s erupting, killing hikers and spotters

as one, remaining a force of overwhelming

nature, even as a momentary quiet

settles on the small town.

is revelation the contentless violence of divine

intervention? is it not the more pacific

symmetry of  a world gently nudged

toward wholeness? do we live in the

shadow of Auschwitz, hiding in the forest

of our shtiblach so that God will not find

us, or do we sacrifice beautiful harmony

raise up the harmony to the One who is

the source of harmony, or do we create a

new set of horrors, dragging ourselves on

our own via dolorosa, the dolores of our

own creation, the pain of others, the cry the

scream of broken glass causing the vocal

chords to vibrate and emerging from the mouth and

lips in a blood curdling denial of wrongdoing.

all that we have done, all that we have sworn,

all that we have inflicted, rained down, engineered,

deployed, denuded, harassed, broken, catastrophized,

calamitized, created, decreated, cried secret

tears, washing washing washing washing yet

the guilt remains, all that. is that what you

see or hear or sense? is that the revealed

word of God? what is that? it sounds like

boots trampling, chaotic anger in unison,

like coals extinguished in water, like great

trees caught  up in flames, it sounds like

it must be painful, it must be painful.

it must be pitiful.