I never saw the root of the real
In arboreal flare,
Nor witnessed this man walk on water,
Nor that one float in air.
I sat beneath the bodhi tree;
I felt my body itch.
Between the true cup and the false
I knew not which was which.
My eyes have never blown like fuses
Sparked black upon a wall,
No surge of sight or insight mine,
No whisper, and no call.
My thousand suns have been my twins,
My Beatrice, my wife,
My way to immortality
The living of the life—
No visage singed into a shroud
Or knotted in a tree.
A newborn in a swaddling-cloth
Was the vision given me:
Someday the faces round my sickbed
Will blur and superimpose
Into that single human Face
The visionaries know,
My humble human loves collected
And, for the first time, seen
Intensely, like diffraction
Narrowed to a beam.
Paul D. McNelis, S.J.
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