Muddy Insight

    Discovery

I dreamed I heard someone singing
A beautiful song I’d never heard before.
I woke up humming the tune.

Who is the songwriter?

I dreamed I found a piece of paper lying on a sandy shore.
On it was a poem I’d never read before.
Its intense clarity haunted me after I awoke.

Who is the poet?

    Muddy Insight

(at Esalen, Big Sur)

Four billion years ago,
Clouds spat rain on flowing lava,
Hot vents stirred the seabed,
And troubled the primal mud into life.

Two thousand years ago,
To heal a man of blindness,
Jesus spat in the dust, pinched that warm mud from the ground,
and smeared it into the man’s eyes.

Through cracks from the hot core of earth
water bubbles up
and fills the cliff-side tub in which I soak.
I breathe its sulphured vapor.

Boils of fog float around a mountain
stippled with chaparral,
Gull wings sigh in the onshore updraft.
Sunlight finds the feathered branches
of a cypress.
Waves rumble and flush;
veils of foam fly back
from the curling edge of surf.

If mud obscured my eyes
long enough to break the spell they put on me,
Could I then see deeper into the heart of the world?

(Below: the IRS 1040 form on which the people of Mt Hollywood United Church of Christ in Los Angeles (of which I’m a member) wrote how they pray their taxes will be spent, as part of our 4/15 observance of the Blessing of Taxes)

(COMING SOON: Pluralism Sunday – celebrating the religions of the world in Christian worship, worldwide – MAY 6)

About Jim Burklo

Rev. Jim Burklo is the Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. An ordained United Church of Christ pastor, he is the author of three books in print, OPEN CHRISTIANITY (2000), BIRDLIKE AND BARNLESS (2008), and HITCH-HIKING TO ALASKA: THE WAY OF SOULFUL SERVICE (2013). See more about him at jimburklo.com .


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