Exodus 20:21

Original publication: Best of the Manchester Poets Volume 2

By Richard Mather
 
‘Moses approached the thick darkness where God was’ — (Exodus 20:21)
 
God is the black chasm at the heart of the cosmos,
or to think of it another way, the snuffing out of life
on the edge of creation. We usually think of God as
 
light but I think of God as darkness, a profound,
glittering darkness, an abyss of Being,
from where creation is expelled and one day must return.
 
We talk about God as presence but I think
about God as absence, a God whose best miracle is to vanish
and go into hiding either in the middle of things
 
or way out on the brink. He is a secreted God who,
when you find him at the edge of space or in the depths
of the polar ice caps, or sheltered under a tree
 
in the driving rain, conceals you beneath his thick black cape.
Or enfolds you in his enormous brooding wings
black as crow feathers; or purges you to a cinder
 
in the burning foliage of his undying love;
or lays you to rest at the centre of a supernova
just before it explodes.