Not ex nihilo, out of nothingness,
For nothingness does not exist.
The word selects what adds up to a name
From all the possibilities we might perceive.
We see what we name; the name comes first.
Truth bore names into our world for love of us,
Because we cannot learn it without names.
Because there was a morning when words quit
Their normal job of filtering out most of reality,
Because I know how William Blake perceived,
What he and Kant deduced about our minds,
I know that a word’s sharp edges cut
The shape it names from the infinite cookie dough
(As good a name as spacetime or plenum)
To construct the world we think we see,.
Leaving the rest of the dough behind
And forever unknowable.
I have sometimes seen a blur
Snap into focus when it’s named.
Some astronomers call the fullness just a thing,
But all the Big Bang has evolved is just
A beachhead where a boy
Plays with pretty rocks, ignorant
Of the endless sea before him
That itself is a tear in the eye of the One,
Who is also Many, who lives and moves,
In whom we have our Being
If you think that’s all beyond you, as Professor
Phillips said, Your god’s too small.
If we could perceive all the fullness
That each word selects from, we’d be
Overwhelmed by such knowledge and such bliss,
That’s why no man can see the face of God and live,
Kant deduced we do not see the world in itself,
But only what our mind constructs
Out of the pathetic shards that it selects.
Things for themselves are what we think we know,
Things in themselves are what we can never know,
No matter how long we keep trying.
But I think here of persons, not of things.
When you read about his glory or his tents
Or a pillar of fire, it’s She who’s meant,
The Shekinah, who is all we can perceive
Of the divine. The gifted ones can see
Hear, feel Her—as you can, if you’re willing to—
But if you’re sure you can’t, that She’s not
There, you never will. That’s called
A self-fulfilling prophecy.
She’s our fundamental thing for itself
And so The Name’s our thing in itself
(But always remember, they’re persons, not things).
The Name’s deduced, suspected, but never perceived.
If so, all we can ever know of infinity is Her,
The Mother, eternally feminine, at home
In our world, where we must always feel as if
The Father is away on a very long business trip
While we wait and hope for his return.