Poem XXII: Conversation About Returns


Return, O sons of man.
Return to the dust from which
You were taken.

Where were you in the day
I laid the foundations of the

In the sixth day,
the day of man,
and the number of the sons of man,
I formed you from the dust of Earth.

Return, O sons of man
to the dust from which
you were taken.

How long shall I suffer you?

Dust you are,
And dust you shall be.


Return, O Lord.


Return, O sons of man,
Shall I heal you?

I take no pleasure in your death,
But that you should turn
And live,
For this I am willing.

See how kindly I speak to you,
See how I speak of myself as if
I were like you,
That you should know how to behave
Toward me, the Unimaginable Spring
of all that your imagination grasps.

Yet my ways are not your ways,
I will not always forbear.
Return, O sons of man.


Return, O Lord,
How long?


Return, O sons of man,
How can I induce you?
How can I speak to you of pleasures to come?

You have not seen,
– your eye is overfilmed with dust –
You have not heard
– your ear is clogged  –
You have not thought
– your heart is sealed

I cannot tell you
What I have for man.

Shed your sloth,
As if you love your own good,
Return, O sons of Man!


Return, O Lord.
How long
Will we wait for you?

Where were you in the day I turned?
I was broken in an instant,
I was beguiled,
I am lost, I now perceive.

How long?
Return, O Lord.


Return, O sons of man.
Recall the day of your betrothal,
When the Sons of God sang for joy,
divine groomsmen in the morning of all mornings.

There I breathed into you my Breath,
You became more than living dust.
Then your heart flamed with the selfsame
Fire of Me that is Myself;
You were warmth and light.

We were not sundered then.
I was not without you,
Nor were you without me.

Recall the day when we walked together
In the seventh day,
The day of God
And the number of the day of God’s repose,
We had sweet talk,
heart to Heart,
beneath the trees,
you pledged your love to Me.

Is it enough that I have mourned over you?
Is it enough that I suffered
Your rejection of my Love,
And suffer long?
Shall I make for myself eyes
That I may weep
With the tears of the sons of man?



Return, O Lord.
How long
Will we wait for you?
How long will we stare upon our own sores
And not return to you?

We have afflicted ourselves
With bruises and lacerations of our own fingers
With wailings and vomitings;
By the will of your enemy
We are flying apart in dark places;
We dissolve to
dust whipped about in cruel colorless winds;
In desert places we fly unwilling
We are divided into parts,
Which disintegrate among shrieking.

We look to you,
Yet we do not see even the edges
of your garment.

We raise our hands
And touch nothing

We are born in murky halls of weeping
We learn to walk, only to fall into hidden pits

We forget to weep for ourselves
feeding on dung and ashes
To ashes we return
fading into dolten slumber

Who raises us to sudden
of our misery?

Who art thou, Lord?

Return O Lord,
How long?
Return, O Lord,
Return, O God of our own.

We call upon your name.


In the eighth day,
the day of God and man together,
and the number of the day of Godman,
I, the Lord, begot the Son of Man anew.

I, the Lord, raised Man from the halls of death
I walked Hades’ halls, I was the Lord
I was the Son of Man

I went down into the pit
I did not dissolve
I was not severed nor did I corrupt myself

I walked there unharmed, untempted
I grasped the hands
Of Adam
I solaced Eve
With man I walked to the depths
With God man walked back.

Again man finds himself,
The heart of Man burns divine
Again Man finds the Lord
And calls him Father.

Return, O sons of man
Blessed you shall be if you


Return, O Son of Man,
Return to the Dust
Which cries to you:

You have wept with tears of men
Now, behold,
I weep also;
One tear for you is hard-wrung from my dusty eyes

The Lord is grieved with a man’s heart.
This I have felt with sudden knowing.

I am appalled; I faint
I cannot bear the wounding.
It was I, O Lord.

If I have sinned,
Now I beseech you
return me good for evil:
Fit me to weep with you;

Let me walk the holy path with you.
I will go down,
With you I will walk the paths of death
To the halls of life.

Where is my cross?
Let me dare to grieve with my God –


Yet I do fail of all that I have said.
The sons of man at best
speak airy nothings.

God is righteous,
every man a liar;
Never have I told the truth to you.

If I blessed you,
Where would your blessing be?


Yet blessed you are
Blessed you shall be
and blessed have you ever been;

Blessed without halting and stricture
in blessing untempered;
Blessed in your Name by all of your makings;

By your own good blessing
in your own true Person in your own true Being
from the Fountain of your own true Father
Blessed always
With your own true Spirit
Every blessed

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Henceforth and forevermore;

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Henceforth and forevermore;

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Henceforth and forevermore;

Your blessing, O Lord, be upon your people.

10 thoughts on “Poem XXII: Conversation About Returns

  1. Perhaps ‘bridegrooms’ is the wrong word. I meant the male version of bridesmaids…like witnesses to the love between God and man. Is that what you are getting at?


  2. Wait–I just read your response–a bridegroom is a man about to be married. Best men–most likely–but usually there is only one.
    I kind of like the stanza as it means–as it reads now–
    Remember when you were wed to G-d–when you sang for joy-
    Humanity is a bridegroom in a sense–as the Church is considered the feminine.


  3. Perhaps I should have said “God’s groomsmen” as I was referring to angels who would have witnessed the creation of man and the initial love between God and man. My reasoning is that if they sang together for joy when the foundations of the earth were laid (as per Job) how much more would they have sung when creation was crowned by the making of man? Besides, it seems that there are always angels singing somewhere, so it seemed like a safe thing to say. I’m waiting for Joel’s response (unknowing) and then I will probably change something about this verse at least.

    Thanks for the comments, everyone.


  4. It would be interesting (or perhaps convoluted) if they were called the groomsmen sons of the bridegroom. There ought to be a trick to sorting that one out into something of poetic nature, but I am not sure what it would be.


  5. Oh, that’s all right. Glad you caught my mistep and that we got it sorted out.

    The only problem with conflating goomsmen and sons is that these are two different relations between God and the angels and I can’t quite feel that the two relations are part of the same system. Either one is real and the other metaphorical, or both are metaphorical… but part of different metaphors. However, if you think of something that solves it let me know.


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