Do we dare read the Book of Life, and laugh?
I wish I knew, but there are many pages.
I live between its covers, Earth and Heaven,
Yet read so little as it unfurls ages.
For Christ makes light itself his bookkeeper,
And elements of Earth his currency:
His ephahs hydrogen and nitrogen
He weighs out of the sea upon the land.
Well it is said, the sea once dressed the Earth,
For in the dark of sea such things are found
As give God sport, and nourish human ground.
And thus God’s books are balanced in a round.
And at the end of every day, the books
Are opened, and another book, which is
The Book of Life. And all that happened is
Within recorded: Living memory
In trunk or body written, births and ends,
So that one day they may be read again.
And for each phrase I hear as written down,
A hundred more pass by unseen, unheard,
But light itself sees all, fish, beast, and bird.
And in the Book of Life, I read one page,
On it the words: “SALMON: ANADROMOUS.”
Anadromous?–I had to look it up;
It means, to run uphill. Water running down
Laughs and cavorts and roars with mirthful sound,
But salmon run uphill in urgency.
Forsaking the sea, freed of ocean charms,
They rush to die in water’s open arms,
And thus arrive on land, on forest ground.
They are the temple shekel, meting out
Our blessings and depositing the sum:
The elements at sea in them come home.
A scarred Mideastern man once came to Greece
Proclaiming Christ almost anadromous,
And people thought he spoke for foreign gods
But truly he proclaimed the God they knew
In rains and seasons, God they’d tried to prison
with their hands and call it “Temple;” in
God’s hands, fish multiply five thousand-fold!
God reads their bodies like an open book.
So thou shalt leave some river for the salmon,
And thou shalt leave some salmon for the salmon,
And thou shalt leave some salmon for the river,
And thou shalt leave some salmon for the orca,
For you no longer wander in their land
But make your home there. Laugh, and learn to live
With your sister salmon sober be:
The Devil as a cougar walks about,
But if you make a loud and cheery noise,
He might well leave you be. As Luther said,
The one thing he can’t stand is to be laughed at.