"We are talking now of summer evenings in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the time that I lived there so successfully disguised to myself as a child."
From Knoxville: Summer, 1915, James Agee's preface to his novel, A Death in the Family
An apocalypse (Ancient Greek: ἀποκάλυψις apocálypsis, from ἀπό and καλύπτω meaning 'un-covering'), translated literally from Greek, is a disclosure of knowledge, hidden from humanity in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e., a lifting of the veil or revelation, although this sense did not enter English until the 14th century. In religious contexts it is usually a disclosure of something hidden. - From Wikipedia, the on line encyclopedia
Speaking from personal experience, I believe that most of us remain disguised to ourselves not only in childhood, but probably up until the moment of death.
Who among us can really answer the seemingly simple question, "Who am I?"
I can't. I can describe my history, my appearance, work, relationships and the roles I've played, my beliefs, hopes, etc. But the fundamental question of who I essentially am remains veiled. I have no answer.
I haven't been a child for a long time, but I'm still "disguised to myself." My essential self remains hidden, secret, undisclosed.
I'm fairly certain that the people I've loved also remained disguised to themselves whilst on this earthly plane, limited, as we all are, by our five relatively dull senses and confined to a mundane, three dimensional realm.
But when my mother died, at the very moment of her death, her face took on a glowing radiance. There was an intense inward gaze and joyful recognition in her eyes.
I believe that her inner light was unveiled and she finally saw that it was good.
I think about my mother a lot. I wrote this poem, The Apocalypse, to her on February 10th. It strikes me as an odd coincidence that an old acquaintance from long ago wrote me recently, and his language in correspondence was uncannily like the language of my poem.
There is a Sanskrit proverb: "All seeming coincidences, when traced to their origins, are seen to have been inevitable."
I doubt there are any accidents. I post this for my acquaintance from long ago, for my mother, and for anyone else who drops by Dogwood Daughter.
On the eve of the wan, wintry solstice
At 7:37 p.m.
Your eyes opened very wide and seemed to gaze inward
Your face had the look of a small child, delighted and surprised to open a momentous gift
And for less than an instant, I glimpsed your inner lamp
The light you had labored so long to conceal
Even from yourself, was fleetingly and radiantly unveiled
Then you were gone, leaving no trace of yourself in the empty carapace
Lying withered amongst the crumpled sheets of the institutional bed
The anemic moon trembled
And I laughed like a mad woman
Standing among the frozen cars in the parking lot
A solitary figure in a fractured snow globe
Suddenly dizzy as the globe churned
I thrust my arms outward, flailing
but found nothing to hold on to save the icy snow and outer darkness
slipping, falling, sinking, calling
"Oh God, please help me! Please help me now."
And bathed in the thin white milk of the gauzy moon
I was born again,
Baptized by crystalline waters of snow and tears
On the longest night of the year
Home again, I sat with your ghost
On the couch, in the living room
In the gossamer glow of TV and Christmas tree lights
We laughed and laughed
You and I
(we couldn't stop)
like two old soldiers
After a long battle is finally won
You sighed, with relief
And I crowed like a rooster:
"Aha! So THIS is the Apocalypse!"
Be Well and Good Luck,