The Liturgy

Whatever the Lord Pleases He does,
in heaven and on earth
in the seas and all the deep places

–From The Polyeleion – Tone 4 (Psalms 135-136)

If It is not possible that men should see God
as some of the chants declare

then why is it that I imagine
this sound is like the sound

of the creation of the world
heard through the sloshing waters

of chaos clogging your ears
A baritone echo poured upward into

the liturgist’s throat
Like a fifth more of life and longing and loss

The tones like limbs overlapping
in the loose embrace of a different sort of mass

(the kind we do not talk about.
The kind from 20 years ago)

I confess as we leave
that I did not pay attention

so distracted I was by the sound
that I ended up standing

among the women
not with the men and boys

buried so very deep and still,
quiet, and solemn in their piety

“They do that now?
Ah, but it has not always been
that way.”

A shake of the head.

“See, we are going backwards.”

Belgrade, 2015


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