Madonna House


by Catherine de Vinck

Incised in the stone,
wavy lines, a script of sorts,
naming the age of the earth,
beyond the localized, the familiar.

If you think there is
no beginning, no god, no end,
then for you it is just that:
emptiness, no narrative,
no ceremonies, no rituals.

But if you can read
what is written on the stone, the ridges carved
by millennia of sun and rain,
if you can see beyond
the flare of dying stars burning in your bones,

then you belong
to the morning of the world.
You stand at the confluence
of undivided kingdoms:
one, of trees, rivers, mountains,
animals, and people—
the other, outside of history,
as real, as beloved, as the first.