Sunday, February 15, 2009

Heart Blogging, conclusion

Numerus Abundans

a poem by Kevin Cahill

for my wife, Beth, on her 40th birthday

He learned to play the lute

when he was forty years old.

That is what they still say,

as if all the years prior had

been no more than a gestation,

a long uneven labor delivered

at length of a childlike surprise.

When he was forty he picked

it up, his fingers gently round

the neck, he felt the heft, the

balance point on his lap, he

searched the fretted reaches

and he plucked sweet notes

like ripe cherries, so they say.

(There is another saying,

“Stupid after forty, always stupid”

but one who learns to play the lute

at forty, such a one is remembered.)

They say Moses lived one hundred

and twenty years – forty years in

Midian, then again in Egypt before

prophesying forty years in the

wilderness. They say the Prophet

whose heavenly name is Ahmed, first

heard God’s voice when he was forty.

Forty is an age of reckoning, we

ask what we have added up to,

what is the sum of all our seasons,

time multiplied by knowledge,

divided by experiences, all of it

subtracted from a veiled number

not yet etched on a lonely stone.

Abundant numbers – four added

to eight added to twelve added to

sixteen is golden. Ahed means “One”

signifying God – add to it the letter

mîm whose value is forty and you get

Ahmed. Forty steps, the journey from

man to God, near, palpable, infinitely far.

They say there are forty saints, mix

with them and you will disappear.

The marathon wedding feasts of Persia,

the forty pillars gathered at Stonehenge,

the perilous ride above the Great Flood,

Jesus’ satanic trials in the desert, the vigil

at his tomb, the lenten journey to Easter.

Forty, numerus abundans, imbued with

the miraculous and the coincident,

quarantined today in convertibles

and sterile surgeries. So it is good to

remember what they say, they say

that when he was forty, he learned

to play the lute… it means a lot.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Beth! I'm so blessed to know you and call you Family. It's a joy to have experienced your love and laughter and see others do the same. Big giant hugs to you and the rest of the fam- Love, Erin

11:49 AM  

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