For very many people right now in Southern California, the idea of flame is a very terrifying thing. That was on my mind as I drove home and walked toward the door tonight, as I was aware of very different flaming.
Our sky tonight was aflame with red, orange, yellow, deepening blue, and colours in between (It was the kind of sky that you have so describe with British spelling). The curves and wisps and bubbles and drifts of clouds made a perfect texture for the lights to spill across. On the ground, the burning bush, the maples, the oaks… all reflected back their own colours. The leaves are spread across the lawn in fits and starts, putting the humans in the middle of a fiery furnace with the temperature set at 55.
And then, as if, but not actually, from the burning bush, came lines from Gerard Manley Hopkins:
“The world is charged with the grandeur of God.”
I first read this poem in college, in a literature class, Modern Literature. I mostly remember NOT reading the books in the class, but the book of poetry, Modern British Poets, is still on my shelf, still browsed occasionally.
Hopkins was a Jesuit priest in England in the late 1800s. This poem, “God’s Grandeur“, has wonderful sounds, wonderful imagery. It is the kind of poem that, for poetry people and word people and sound people, is delightful in the mouth when read aloud.
More delightful for me tonight, however, was that a bush talked with me reminding me that God is capable of incredible sensory delight, just for fun, for me. And by now, twenty minutes later, there is nothing left of this image. Even the picture I took does nothing to capture the moment.
Except, of course, for the picture in my heart.