The Gravity of Our Situation
Now we shall conquer space they say,
Why not? We came from far away,
Seeing we fell to earth (from where?)
So homing instinct cries: “To air!”
Or if it’s true we rose from slime
And did not fall, a rise in time
Is yet a rise: with skyward will
We seek to go on rising still.
Where will it end? God knows. I think
It often ends when on the brink
Of seeing Him (as once at Eden’s tree)
We shrink from such proximity,
Which, like the sun, both draws and burns,
Leading us on, then on us turns
A penetrating ray so bright
That thus exposed our hearts take fright,
Too frail to bear the perfect power
That once in Eden was our dower.
So down we come, again to lie
In old familiar mud, then die
And live again, but yearning still
To rise and go and have our fill
Of purity, despite the pain,
We start the whole thing once again.
Father Above, must this go on forever?
Is time a pathless pond, or sky-drawn river?
Are all our flights to heaven that attract us
Doomed by the earthly magnets that distract us?
A thunder sounding breaks the leaden spell:
“My buoyant sons will not remain in hell.”
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Many of Vanauken’s poems are reminiscent of Browning, Donne, the early Charles Williams, and others, in style, tone, and theme.