Glory

I

Three years old, my grandson

played happily with the boy next door

as I kept vigil with my chair and book,

content to be in the autumn air.

He caught sight of me, lighting up with joy,

ran to me as always,

eager for embrace and kiss,

but then I watched—I’m a witness!

Delight fell away.

He moderated himself,

arriving nonchalant.





Come as a child.





Most days he still breathes

the glory of discovery,

shame lurking mostly impotent

against the force of childhood,

until exhaustion or reason take over. 





I saw him push the glory away.

We call this growing up. 

The children learn to

hurry past it, resist its pull

until restraint becomes second nature

and we applaud the quelling of tears,

the skill of overcoming distraction.





When we come halfway to our senses

we are nostalgic for the capacity

to play and wonder with abandon.

We take great pains to manufacture awe

that was second nature

before we succumbed to the nonsense

of pushing the glory away.





II

I used to think the anticipation

was as fun as the trip itself. 

The dream of escape offered respite

from the mundane.

The hunger for adventure

aroused the senses lying untapped,

hidden in the succulence of now.





I thought I could locate glory on a map

somewhere else where they have guides.

It turns out the Wizard of Oz is

just a grumpy old guy who paints

everything the same color and doesn’t

really care about your dog.





III

The little boy loves diggers

and bulldozers.

Religion’s heavy equipment

laboriously pushes all the glory

into the future.

I’ll fly away, oh glory,

to the sweet by and by!

But what is nigh?





“The kingdom of God is within you.”

The map you need

is the one that says

“You are here.”