Publish the Word
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Yeshua -- 12, Baptism

In the beginning. . .
was the word

 The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. Psalms 68:11

xii the Baptism


He went down to the Jordan's south-flowing rift,

     down to the fords east of Jericho, into the river's

incessantly pattering glisters of light, its wavery,


willow shade and ankle-deep whorls, its spring-chilled

     wallows, down past greening pools and rocky shoals

to his cousin, baptizing.  He knelt down in water up


to his chin, held himself down against the current.

     What does water signify, he might have asked,

as swells churned past toward the sea of the dead


not far ahead.  Was water life renewing itself,

     a never not moving, ever-change of being?

Was the river what air aspired to, in drawing up rain,


or, for the moment, more immaterial?  Deeper

     down, under the surface, were water and air

transforming; did the spark at the heart of it all flare?


A dove came down, light on his shoulder.  A cloud

     overlaid an oracle of shadow, a voice thunder

might assume.  Yeshua stood drenched, hair dripping.


His tunic clung to his chest.  Onlookers heard water

     rushing; they saw what they wanted.  Sun opened

a door; it cast a bronze platter.  Blindingly, it shone.