After Reading the Poetry of Jones Very,
Unitarian and Mystic (1813-1880)
Jones Very stood alone, within a circle which no other
of mortal race could enter, nor himself escape from.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Hall of Fantasy”
but then face to face
1 Cor. 13:12
It shone within a wall of blackened stone
Whose layers were compressed into a dense
And all but absolute consistency.
How often we had glanced at that bleak sheen
Wondering who could cut through such a rock
And with what primal adamantine tool.
And yet the door was there, its golden hinges
Glimmering in the bolted underplanes.
As far as we could tell the door would move
Although its knob—of some strange lunar heat
And solar cold—was hard for us to grasp.
No master key had ever worked the lock
Whose hidden parts would grind each time we tried
The most delicate motion left and right
Listening for a clicking as we pressed
Against a grain that glints but never gives.
And there we stand as always in the rays
Emitted blind and shining from a source
That touches us although we cannot breach
By human will the plane that holds the door.
And yet perhaps for now it is enough
To know a way remains, though sealed in light,
Through this thick wall on which we have to gaze
At faces untransfigured in its glaze.