Updated: Nov 5, 2019
Now the angel’s got a fiddle
And the devil’s got a harp…
Go tell the young messiah
What happens to the heart
- Leonard Cohen
My wife and I went to a lawyer’s office while buying a house.
The reception desk central panel greeted us with a wooden carving - ॐ.
A surprise - a spiritual lawyer in our own, small, non-cosmopolitan town?
When the lawyer received us I gestured to the carving and said, “Namaste.”
He beamed and smiled and bowed.
Framed portraits covered his personal office walls - Jesus, the Buddha, a couple of his favourite gurus.
What were the names again - Ashaka? Asun?
Bright, exaggerated eyes, shaped like seeds promising hanging fruit.
All with bright colours and radiant backgrounds.
After the legalities, he asked us to stay and talk.
His gurus told him, told their followers, told the world,
“angels” were waiting for us.
All we had to do was ask the angels,
and “three million christs” would be born into the world through people’s actions.
I bowed and respectfully kept distant from the metaphysics, the aesthetic.
But the statement seemed so peculiar. Why so specific and majestic?
It still teases me,
A madman lit a lamp. He ran to the classroom, and then to the market,
a mere interruption in the discourse between mothers preparing and fathers providing.
He announced his book sales were turning tables,
close to 3 million worldwide.
His strident lamp still beamed,
but he looked weary, worn, and lean.
A neurotic bear turning back, again and again,
obviously human, all too human.
The individual stretched,
as he is.
But it sparked again my wonder,
made me reconsider.
Am I like a Roman,
uniform in step with lash and legion,
keeping distant with vinegar and words,
all to render the world in an emperor’s image?
Or am I like a Simon of Cyrene,
no longer captive by shining sepulchre or screen,
compelled, bowing low,
closing my mouth,
taking up some kindred task,
alien from the city of G-d?