Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Rudolf Bultmann

In the shadows of high shelves you sat in heavy silence,
reading old Greek books and smiling
grimly.
You seemed so still, an unmoved mover
in your airless German office,
but you were poised on that fixed point
between the weight of other people’s centuries and the burden
of the moment.

Then at last with happy seriousness, like a child
playing with matches,
you took those legends, myths, pious certainties,
and placed them neatly on the floor, arranged them
by strict principles.
With cries of protest deafening your ears,
with fists pounding the door, you calmly
set them alight
and watched them burn, hoping
that from those ashes would spring
that fragile phoenix (so ancient and so new)
of faith in him who hides himself, but
tears time, splits graves, and strips
existence to the bone
when he pulls back the veil.

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