where the desert met the mountains;
their sustenance
beyond our supermart imaginings,
alone or with a few devoted
kindred spirits, they lived a life
of hard work, ascesis, prayer –
with all the urban wit of the best
gentlemen’s clubs, all the perception
of consultant psychiatrists:
observing in themselves in solitude
all the ills of man, before, then, since:
‘We have rejected the light burden
of condemning ourselves, and
we have chosen the heavy burden
of justifying ourselves, and condemning others…’
touché, Abba John!
They, a little lower than the angels,
between the desert and the mountains,
between the hard place and the rock,
between human tragedy and
the divine comedy;
on their face,
above rough cloth, rough hands,
humility; bright eyes; compassion’s smile.

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