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An annotated and explained version of my 2013 Christmas poem.

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  1. 1. From Here to There and Back Again1 (The Thrice—Met Numinus2) John’s 33rd Annual Christmas Poem3 December 25, 2013 4 I Am5 The6 Skylark, witty, pretty Skylark. 7You populate my dream-life and you love me so. I need none of any else, that is what I’ve always felt. I ‘m the Lark, such a Lark. I’ll a-maze you. So, wake up and notice I am special, center of my very own extensive universe. Intermezzo8 Little skylark take a ride, there’s something that’s too hard to hide. See a thing, as you sing. Even more is in store. 9I’ll amaze, you will gaze. This I promise. Fly across MY cold and stormy ocean,10 to Carey’s 11 land where you have never been.12 1 To the rhythm and tune of and juxtaposed against, the traditional French-Canadian song, Alouette. See the extended note following the poem proper. I am not so naïve as to believe that all or even most of the readers care for the detail, but some do, so . . . here it is. 2 The “Numinus” is the generic spiritual term for the creative personage referenced by C.S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain and by the German theologian Rudolf Otto in his influential book Das Heilige. 3 In this piece, I return to the medium of the poem. In some previous years, I have written stories. Unlike the predecessors, this poem really doesn’t have much if anything to do with Christmas. Though, in a broad sense, God gives the Lark a gift, the gift of understanding Who God is and who the Lark is and their relative positions in the universe. 4 Note the key signature rises a whole tone in each stanza with correlative minors on the even tones until it reaches Octave. The point is that with each stanza, the Skylark grows a little in his understanding of the order of the universe until, in the last stanza, the Octave, he comes full circle and realizes his real self – the one that he was all the time. 5 “I AM” would cause the Hebrew reader to realize that whenever the Skylark says, “I am,” he is arrogating to himself the position of God Who identifies Himself to Moses as, “I AM.” Jesus used “I AM” at least seven times in the Gospel of John. The Jews of His day rightly recognized this as a veiled, yet valid, claim to divinity. 6 Skylark accentuates his hubris by referring to himself not only as “I Am,” but also as “THE” Skylark, thus separate from and above all others. Skylark represents not only the thought I once held of myself, the “me” as the author, but man in his natural state. “Me” is the author of this work, but God is author and finisher of the Faith. 7 Here, Skylark vainly proclaims that everyone else is but a character in his dream of himself, a thought borrowed from Ayn Rand’s personal philosophy seen in Atlas Shrugged, the movie version of which had influenced me. 8 An Intermezzo is a musical term taken from the Italian that means “in the middle of.” Here, it is a device I have used to indicate that the speaker had changed from the Skylark to the Numinus and back and forth. Note, too that where the Numinus (God) speaks, the text is in bold font. Also, references to Himself are always capitalized. 9 The Numinus contrasts HIS power to amaze with the Skylark’s total lack of power. 10 The North Atlantic. 11 William Carey, missionary to India, hence the land is India where visions one and three were given. 12 Not only has the Skylark never been to the land of India, he has never been to this spiritual land to where the Numinus is taking him, a land where the Skylark is not king. 1|Page
  2. 2. Close your eyes and look above, flowing from MY Lap of Love. Blood descends, Heaven rends. Falling fast, millions passed. Now thru you, MY healing do. Touch the man, take his hand, I WILL heal him. You must know that truly “I AM” sends it, Ruby Red, the flow beneath your feet.13 Intermezzo Who are you to through me do? You are one I never knew.14 What is done, I’m the one. This I say, “Clear my way.” I alone, sing my song. I am sure that’s not your . . . handiwork . . . dandiwork, maybe . . . maybe. There is something that I count creative. Numinus, a One I recognize. Intermezzo 15 Little Lark, I’ve lit a spark, within your arc. Now douse your dark.16 Sock you’ll lose, I will choose, where you’ll find, peak your mind, 17 Levant Land, hand in hand, ‘Neath the 18 Wall, ‘tis MY call. Find it where, ‘twasn’t there. Where I place, Sacred Space. Soon you’ll know ME. By the 19water’s tunnel to MY Conscious. Numinus, yet more, you’ll come to know. 13 This first vision was given to me in a Nepali refugee village outside Rajpur, India. It was the same vision seen by Isaiah and recorded in Isaiah 6. The difference is that the characters in my vision were Indian. I wrote this vision in the poem The Purwat of Rajpur for Christmas, 2011. It is recorded on my blog, <johnwible.blogspot.com>, q.v. 14 In this stanza, the Skylark at first tries to reassert himself, but he is seen as beginning to come the realization that he is not the center of the universe. 15 There now is pictured a different experience given to me in Israel in June 2013. I was with a tour group sightseeing in Jerusalem. We were under the Western Wall in a narrow corridor where an archeological dig is in process. To our left were the shorings of the dig and to the right was the subsurface rock surface of the wall surrounding Solomon’s temple. It is speculated that our location was only few feet away from the ancient underground hiding place used by the ancient Jews to preserve the temple relics from the various invaders, most notably, the Babylonians in the 600 B.C. era. It is further speculated by some that inside that cavern resides the Ark of the Covenant. Indeed, there are those who claim without documentation that they have actually seen it. If that is the case, we were mere feet from the Ark of the Covenant, in single-file climbing a rock stairway. A young man behind me called my name and held out something in his hand. He said, “Mr. John, did you drop this?” I immediately recognized a sock that I had lost months before – back home – washing clothes! It could be argued that the sock had become lodged in the hem or pocket of the shorts I was wearing and just now fell out. However, it could as easily be said that God put that sock there in that Holy Place for “just such a time as this” to remind me of His presence. I invite the reader to make your own judgment. Either way, the Numinus now has the Skylarks full attention. 16 Jesus is the “Light of the World” that illuminates all darkness of soul and spirit. 17 The “Levant” is a name given to the Eastern Mediterranean lands used especially during the period of the British Mandate. The term used here identifies the place of the incident. 18 The Western Wall of Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem. 19 The pathway is known as Hezekiah’s Tunnel because the great King had it build to bring drinking water from the spring to a pool located inside his city wall. 2|Page
  3. 3. Intermezzo 20 Just a sock it could have been, in my pocket folded in. Yet and still . . . such a thrill, Through my “I,” drawing nigh. 21Who are YOU? Are you true? Numinus, more I must, seek and find, what’s behind. What YOU are. Show me more. Spirit’s call, through it all. Now i’m listening. Speak; i’m meek, so ready now to hear YOU. Enervated of my universe.22 Intermezzo 23 Back again ’cross stormy sea,24 to the ones I WILL you be. Join in there, in their pray’r. Deep within, 25 Murthi’s den, swirling ‘round, 26demons bound. 27Cyclone eye, all and I, 28Float the souls. I control. Even here, never fear. 29 Many more, through MY door.30 Heal and bless. All confess I’M their FATHER. 31Will you take ME? You could never make ME. 32I am who you, errant, thought you were. 33 20 The Skylark is now listening to God. Note the subtle shift in the lack of capitalization of the pronoun “i.” When Moses first met God, Moses asked His name; likewise, when St. Paul first is confronted by the Risen Jesus on the road to Damascus, he asks, “who are You, Lord?” 22 The Skylark now realizes that all he has thought of himself has been a lie. 23 For the third and final time, the scene shifts back to India in October, 2013 where our mission team was privileged to attend a Christian worship service in an extremely rural Indian village just outside of Rishikesh in the District of Dehradun, State of Uttarakhan. Rishikesh is the second most holy city to practicing and faithful Hindi practitioners as their faith teaches that the god, Ram, encamped there. Christians are, understandably, quite unwelcome there and subject to harassment by civil authorities as well as by the Hindi faithful. Nevertheless, this congregation holds regular open and rather large Christian services in their church building. During that service, in prayer, I received a second vision in India. In the vision, I saw God’s angels restraining Satanic forces encircling the building. I further saw the evil and unbelief of many within the wall being surrendered to God and floating up through the open ceiling into the eye of a hurricane. 24 Once again to India. 25 Murthi is a reference to an idol. In the Hindi religion, a murthi, vigraha, or pratima is an anthropomorphic or zoomorphic depiction of a god that is usually made of stone, wood or metal. There are literally millions of such murthi all over India. 26 In the vision, there were thousands of demonic forms outside the building, so many that the air was dark with them. However, each one was held on a golden leash or chain by an angel of God. 27 Pictured here as in the vision is a giant cyclonic hurricane. Just before our visit to India, a devastating Pacific typhoon killed many East Coast Indians and devastated an enormous land area on the subcontinent. 28 The evil within all those who confess is taken up by the Spirit of God and vaporized in the light central to the heavenly ceiling of the vision. 29 God tells the Skylark that there will be many, many more to confess Him. 30 Jesus said, “I am the door.” 31 The invitation now is rendered to the Skylark. 32 The contrast could not be more striking. God is not a murthi; He is a real God. He follows this statement with the rightful claim of the divine, “I AM,” the name by which He identifies Himself to Moses on the Holy Mountain, “I AM that I Am.” 33 God now clearly tells the Skylark the He is God and the Skylark is not. 21 3|Page
  4. 4. Intermezzo 34 Now YOU’ve broke’ my spirit’s dam, Truth I know YOU ARE “I AM.” Cleansing Tide, purge my pride.36 Wash my will, stronger still. Dredge me strait. Abolate. Brush Sin’s bent. I repent. Purify, pinings my. Heart’s desire, hang it higher. Drain the dross, little loss. Melt the “me,” with YOU be. YOU will stay; i obey. Now i know YOU. From the Numinus into the PERSON, as it was so it shall ever be.37 35 Coda38 I have opened 39 Heaven’s Gate, so that you can immigrate.40 Learn the “ME”; bend the knee. Quit the quaint, stand a saint. Change your heart, safe thou art. Others too, just like you. All who will, “self” to fill. It is done, now a son. Here to there, then a prayer. Back again, life sustain. Evermore, is in store. 41Shaitan shattered. Finale Little Skylark, I HAVE bought you, Skylark, with MY PRECIOUS. Now at last, you’re MINE. *** Merry Christmas to All. For an annotated and explained version, see my blog <johnwible.blogspot.com> or my Facebook page. It is also posted on my Slideshare 7 account at https://www.slideshare.net/johnwible 34 Note that the musical notation reaches C Major, the Octave again signifying that the Skylark has come full circle, starting all over again, this time on the right path with a right view of the cosmos. This realization by the Skylark rushes over him like water breaching and tearing down a spiritual dam that had held him prisoner. 35 The “Cleansing Tide” was a carwash in Tuscaloosa that was destroyed in the tornado of 2010. Those who know me well will recognize the allusion. However, meaning no sacrilege at all, there is also a second allusion. In the hymn, Grace Greater Than Our Sin, verse three refers to Jesus’ cleaning blood as a “crimson tide.” The line states, “dark is the sin that we cannot hide, what can avail to wash it away? Look, there is flowing a crimson tide, whiter than snow you may be today.” 36 Continuing the water motif, this line is a reference to baptism. In the water and blood, the Skylark asks God thoroughly to scrub away all stains of the Skylark’s sin. 37 The Skylark now realizes that God is neither a murthi nor a mere Numinus. He is God. 38 In musical parlance, a Coda is a bit added onto a piece of music, a sort of musical footnote or P.S. 39 St. Paul, quoting the Old Testament, tells us that no man (or here, bird) seeks God. God, the Creator, first reaches out. Man, the creature responds. 40 None of us has a right to citizenship in God’s Heaven except that He has issued us an invitation to immigrate. Further, God does not make our immigration as difficult as does the State of Alabama to foreign-born people (if I may be forgiven one political comment. Being no longer in the employ of the State, I am free to voice such.) 41 Shaitan is an ancient Arabic term for the Devil. Here, he and his power over the Skylark are shattered. 4|Page