Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Update on the road to Emmaus

It was the weather of a dream,
like some rough fabric we wore
that chafed, a thin lightning
crackling uninvited
through the general disturbance
of our flesh: but our thoughts
were worse. We stumbled past things
as if they were illusions.
The road a deep-rutted curse,
skewed by imaginings,
and us alone on it, silent
inside the mutterings of our thoughts.
Everywhere the heat shouted at us
from a text of light on rocks,
obscure sayings from a book
of the inert that seemed to say
this is it, this is all there is.
Then he was there beside us,
a stranger asking us what it was
we had said; cruel, he called us fools
and slow of heart, quoted scriptures,
as day turned to a heavy night
that blundered along with us,
until on arrival we asked him in
to eat. That’s when the dull
pressure of fear and heat was released―
and we were amazed by sudden
recognition, not of man or god,
but of a simple gesture, plain
as the blessing and breaking of bread.

Paul Surman

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