The Immanent God
See your God in the jelly-fish, Sucking salty food. See Him drift in the gulf-weed, In shark-bellies brood. See Him feed with the gull there, In a grey ship's wake. Feel Him afresh In your own hot flesh When into lust you break. Hear His wrath in the hurricane, Hushing a hundred lives. Hist His heave in the earthquake, In volcano hives. Hark His stride in the plague-wind, Over a sterile shore: Down in a mine Behold what wine Of coal-damp He will pour. Aye, and there in the ribaldry Of a night-wench's song Hear Him—or on a child's lips Cursing a slum-mate's wrong. Stark He starves in the street there, Or, full-fed, will go: He, your God, In every clod Or clot of human woe. And—in every infamy Loathed by you with shame. Clear of the saddest soul-stench None can keep His name. Man's, you may say, all crime is, But Who gave man birth? Spawn of the years Is he—with tears And strife to give him worth. Spawn of the Universes, God's great flesh and bone. Stars are the cells that float there, Through lymph-ether strown. Dying, living, and dead there, Coming again to birth Out of a Womb That was their Tomb Are they—and is our earth. Such is your Immanent God—yea, Evil as well as good, Vileness even as beauty Holds His strange Godhood. Great He seems in the sea's surge, Fair in a woman's face, Yet with the worm He feeds a term On every goodly grace. Spirit, then, you may hold Him, High of plan and hope. But world-flesh does He strive with, Yearn like us—and grope; So must ever and oft seem Avid to escape From the hid yeast That moulds the least Of all things to His shape. Spirit, may be—or haply We had known no growth, But in a slime primeval Still would dwell in sloth. Yet if such is His Being, Finite is His need. To the same ends As earth He wends And journeying must bleed.
This poem is in the public domain.