Till At Last It Takes Flesh

This poem by Czeslaw Milosz has followed me for years. Phrases from it often come to mind. Questions of being and faith never get easier. But they do change. They get quieter. More patient. Like old forests. The noise of surety is muffled by the long sigh of the wind in the tree tops. Faith is being ok with that.

After Enduring

The hypothesis of resurrection
Drawn by an eminent scientist from quantum mechanics,
Foresees our return to familiar places and people
After a billion or two billion earth years
(Which in the beyond-time equals one instant.)
I am glad to have lived long enough to witness the fulfillment of predictions
About a possible alliance of religion and science,
That was prepared by Einstein, Planck, and Bohr.
I do not take too seriously scientific phantasies,
Though I respect graphs and computations.
The same was expressed more concisely by Peter the Apostle,
When he said: Apokatastasis panton,
The renewal of all things.
Yet it is helpful: to be able to imagine
That every person has a code instead of life
In an eternal storage room, a supercomputer of the universe.
We disintegrate into rot, dust, microfertilizers,
But that code or essence remains
And waits, till at last it takes flesh.
And also, as the new corporeality
should be cleansed of evil and afflictions,
The notion of purgatory enters the equation.
Not different is what the faithful in a country church
Repeat in chorus asking for life eternal.
And I with them. Not comprehending
Who I will be when I wake after enduring.

––Czeslaw Milosz


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