Alleluia a Quattro Voci

I. Calix

The world receives the sun as by intinction,
as dipped once in blue-heavenloft seas,
and delicately placed on her fog tóngue.
Night blurs into day without distinction.
Light gathers in dawn-patterns, morning breeze
suffuses dream-dark, bells’-strings plucked, are rung.

Men walk like sheep asleep in twos and threes
alone, some from one house and some another,
straggly rows all going one way despite
the whole meadow wide open at their ease.
Sheep follow their shepherd; man, his brother.
They go down, they go down, out of sun’s-sight.

Two hands aloft a golden chalice hold
to catch the drops of heaven-blood which fall
from open wounds which time will never heal
and styptic never staunch. “Ecce.” So told
the mouth of Christ, the man, the all-in-all.
See priest, see victim. Behold, and kneel.

A paradox: that the most intimate,
sweet communion, deep unto deep calling,
softest, warmest light, the bright, white-fiéry
love!—Hearts’-flame from heaven imminent
should come to men open-mouthed and fallen
and fill them up with Christlight, quietly.

II. Coeli

The wounds of Christ are five: hands, feet and side,
and from the lance-blow blood and water gushed,
and from the furnace of his Sacred Heart
where in waterfall-wildness love abides—
on that day flowed forth, with a roar out-rushed!—
Blood, water, breath, his love and light impart.

His light, all light: sun and moon and starlight.
His the waters, storm and flood and dawn-dew!
His every moment! Every spirit his!
Everything that falls, gathers, shines in flight,
that laughs, dances, sings out its name to you,
Lord Jesus, yours, by gift and right it is.

The skies at a paradox-pitch let fall
all at once light and rain and heaven-breath
and praise you, Lord! all creation praise you,
as at Calvary when the Father called.
Sunshowers, strange as giving life by death,
as strange and beauteous, as perfect, true.

I am darkness. I am sin and heartbreak.
By your grace, Lord, I am heartloft, airlight!
Your Sacred Heart beating in me, your blood
in my veins flowing, in your light awake,
in the water from your side my stains washed white,
your grace, my life, alive, in You, my flood!

III. Caritas

And it is not easy, self-surrender.
What He gives is ever his to take away.
Soaring heights of love, joy, brotherhood,
the closeness, Lord, by your leave engendered,
now ten days mine. My heart oft goes astray.
(My desire, to desire what I should.)

In Lenten-time, you marked me with ashes.
My life is not my own. (Heart, you forget!)
I belong to you, mind, soul and flesh.
Lord, I long for faith that breaks me, crashes
with a flame and fire in me! Lord, beget
your will in me! In me your will refresh!

I long for you, Lord, and you thirst for me.
What cruel paradox: we cannot be one
until time’s ending, until you perféct
in me my soul and lift me to your glory.
Those here in whom I find your love you run
afar from me. I know why: to redirect

what lingers of eros all to caritas.
I give myself into your hands, O Jesus
(as, Lord, you give your body into mine)
I kneel to kiss your feet beneath your cross
(I savor all your sweetness, all that pleases)
and wait the day my soul is one with thine.

IV. Crux

Sweet Eucharist! Far more than I deserve,
yet less, somehow, than heart’s-desire
(or if not less, at last, then other-than.)
I kneel, tasting of you, and I observe
my brothers one by one in you catch fire:
man in receiving God is made more-man!

They drink from the chalice of salvation—
I drink with them—together, we are lifted,
drawn together, to a greatness, close to you.
O bright mystery of this vocation!
On our own less than nothing; as one, gifted:
a gift to you, our lives a gift renewed.

What fount of love and joy you have revealed!
Who am I, Lord, that you should have called me
to a life so perfect, life so full?
My heart-wounds in your patient grace you heal,
My weary soul in your vast and wild sea
of charity you soothe with flames wool-warm.

Make of me, Lord, I beg, all that you will.
I am at the foot of your cross, all yours.
My heart is weak and longs for passing things.
Refine me, Lord, with fire and anvil-
crash! You will be victor of the wars
deep within me, emerge in me as King.

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