The Conversion of Paul



 I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me,
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
. . .  Since I could not see because of the brightness of that light,
those who were with me took my hand and led me to Damascus. Acts 22: 7,11

Point of Light

Struck by a sickening blow to the gut,
slamming against the pitiless rock
I went down to the ground.
My body lay in the dust
My body folded upon itself in the dust.
My heart smeared with the dust.
And I lay still in the dust,
closed upon the dust,
like the wing of some great, dead bird.

I fell down
rolled down
splayed down
split, spread down
across the ground
like butter.

Like a serpent
I went down
crawling over the ground
on my belly.

I went down to the ground
where the salamanders and skinks
scurry over the cold stone walk.

I went down to the ground
where the sow bugs curl and the beetles hide.
I went down to the ground
and swam with turtle
out of the depths
up into the light
stretched my neck long
and turned my face
to the sun.

When I was lifted up from the ground,
day became night.
I staggered
my sin was always before me.

You wonder if it happened,
if I really saw what I say I saw,
heard what I tell I heard.
You wonder if I am mad
or fabricating.

See here,
the proof is in my groping blindness
my stunned, numbed, nauseous soul
stumbling in a foreign land.

There are ones who can testify
that I saw well enough before
that I did not wear this unveiled shocked look of the newly blind.
There are ones who can remember the zeal and pulse of desire in me.

My mind,
shattered into brittle splinters,
discrete thoughts
save my existence.

In darkness I paced that long night.

Near dawn some
thing like scales, like slivers,
a tough membrane-like scum
shucked from my eyes.
And I saw for the first time
the world
like a worn pouch turned inside out.

When sight returned
there remained as a translucent cataract


Betwixt me and creation exists that dear face
and upon it I gaze unceasingly
and therein find All.

“It hurts you to kick against the goads,” he said.


2 responses to “The Conversion of Paul

  1. “It hurts to kick you against the goads”

    I love that line! What a beautiful and inspired poem. How we are broken open to the experience and knocked for a loop sometimes!

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