Here’s a poem for a Sabbath Day and what if it’s true? What if Heaven really is down, in the salt sway where all life originated and not up past the sky at all?
The poem is called ‘New Religion’ and it was written by Bill Holm:
This morning no sound but the loud
breathing of the sea. Suppose that under
all that salt water lived the god
that humans have spent ten thousand years
trawling the heavens for.
We caught the wrong metaphor.
Real space is wet and underneath,
the church of shark and whale and cod.
The noise of those vast lungs
exhaling: the plain chanting of monkfish choirs.
Heaven’s not up but down, and hell
is to evaporate in air. Salvation,
to drown and breathe
forever with the sea.
It reminds me of that scene from Terrance Malick’s 2011 film The Tree of Life. I could watch this trailer again and again. It’s all in here, from the Creation to miracle of conception, from Cain and Abel to prodigal sons, from stern and yearning fathers to mothers who ache for the sight of their lost children – and under and around it all the waters, the waters, the waters.