Becoming the Child
In seafoam, in swirlings and imaginings I am fish, tadpole, crocodile. I am an urge, an idea, a portent of impossible dreams. I lie between heaven and earth, between goodness and evil, patience and explosion. I am innocent and rosy as dawn. I sleep with my finger in my mouth, the cord of life curled beside my ear. Like a child in its mother’s belly, I am with you but not among you. I know no ending for I have no beginning. I have always been here, a child in the silence of things, ready to wake at any moment.
I am possibility.
What I hate is ignorance, smallness of imagination, the eye that sees no farther than its own lashes. All things are possible. When we speak in anger, anger will be our truth. When we speak in love and live by love, truth in love will be our comfort. Who you are is limited only by who you think you are. I am the word before its utterance. I am thought and desire. I am a child in the throat of god. Things are possible—joy and sorrow, men and women, children. Someday I’ll imagine myself a different man, build bone and make flesh around him. I am with you but a moment for an eternity. I am the name of everything.
I’ve dreamed the nightmare a hundred times, that old revulsion of bone and flesh, waking in sweat, in a headlong rush toward the world, into the cool certainty of fires that burn in sudden stars, the heat in the body. That I am precludes my never having been.
What I know was given to me to say. There is more.
There are words that exist only in the mind of heaven, a bright knowing, a clear moment of being. When you know it, you know yourself well enough. You will not speak. I am a child resting in love, in the pleasure of clouds. I read the book of the river. I hold the magic of stones and trees. I find god in my fingers and in the wings of birds. I am my delight, creator of my destiny. It is not vanity.
There are those who live in the boundaries of guilt and fear, the limits of imagination. They believe limitation is the world. You can not change them. There is work of your own to do. You will never reach the end of your own becoming, the madness of creation, the joy of existence.
Dance in the moment. Reach down and pull up song. Spin and chant and forget the sorrow that we are flesh on bone. I return to the rhythm of water, to the dark song I was in my mother’s belly. We were gods then and we knew it. We are gods now dancing in whirling darkness, spitting flame like stars in the night.
In the womb before the world began, I was a child among other gods and children who were, or may be, or might have been. There in the dark when we could not see each other’s faces, we agreed with one mind to be born, to separate, to forget the pact we made that we might learn the secrets of our fraternity. We agreed to know sorrow in exchange for joy, to know death in exchange for life. We were dark seeds of possibility whispering. Then one by one we entered alone. We walked on our legs, and as we had said, we passed in well-lit streets without recognizing each other; yet we were gods sheathed in flesh, the multitude of a single spirit. Gods live even in darkness, in the world above your heads, in the crevices of rocks, in the open palms of strangers.
I am a child, the seed in everything, the rhythm of flowers, the old story that lingers. Among cattle and fruit sellers, I am air. I am love hidden in a shy maiden’s gown. I am the name of things. I am the dream changing before your eyes. I am my body, a house for blood and breath. I am a man on earth and a god in heaven. While I travel the deserts in frail form, while I grow old and weep and die, I live always as a child inside the body of truth, a blue egg that rocks in the storm but never breaks. I sleep in peace in my mother’s lap, a child mesmerized by sunlight on the river. My soul is swallowed up by god.
Out of chaos came the light.
Out of the will came life.
– From Awakening Osiris, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, Translated by Normandi Ellis, Phanes Press, 1988.