As you lie there
(bedridden, they say),
Dull eyes fixing on objects
deemed less than worthy of ordinary attention—
hairline cracks in a painted wall,
sunlight moving hour by hour
across mementos of distant adventures—
Do you still travel the roads and seaways with
the belated apostle from Tarsus as he journeys across
Can you yet stand in the shadows with the young Athanasius,
hearing the Nicene elders pronounce on
the consubstantial Word?
Are thoughts of day-long colloquies at Cassiciacum
still blowing through your fevered mind like
an evening breeze?
Will your little room with the clean sheets and
the antiseptic smells expand to hold
a Dumb Ox pondering syllogisms spacious enough
to contain a universe,
an Augustinian monk daring to stand (contra
mundum—Do you remember Athanasius?) before
the doctors gathered at Leipzig and Worms,
a gaunt young lawyer poring over sacred texts in
his Genevan study?
Do angels and archangels,
prophets, apostles, and martyrs,
all assembled as a great cloud of witnesses,
Greet you as you make your way beyond encroaching darkness
toward the Unapproachable Light?
—Charles C. Twombly