Thursday, May 27, 2010

Jacob's Dream

(After the painting Jacob's Dream by William Blake and Genesis 28: 11-17)

A young man leaving home 
For long years to be gone
Might fall asleep and dream,
His head upon a stone.

A stair appears that bends
In spiral toward the light,
The bright Orb where it ends,
Though he sleeps through the night,

Darkened, below the stars.
Angel in constant motion 
Walk up and down the stairs.
Delight and clear devotion

Make graceful all they do.
The light and dark are bound,
Heaven to all below,
Bright stair and stony ground

In on light joined. In sleep
The dreamer wakes. He sees 
Above the stars the deep
Of Heaven opened. Is

He living, then, his part
Of Heaven's earthly life?
And what shall be the art
By which this sight can live?

Darkened upon the earth, 
He fills with light, is made
A witness to high Truth
And so a man afraid.

His land - this meager sod,
These stones, this low estate -
Is the household of God.
And it is Heaven's gate.

~ Wendell Berry
Sabbaths 2004, I