The Great Myths #4: The Round Dance of the Cross (Christian)

Anthology: Poems on How to Live Human Voices Wake Us

Tonight I read a handful of poems on the theme of How to live, what to do? How to get by in the world as a devotee of culture, solitude, ritual, beauty, tradition and individuality? There is of course no one answer, and anyway, poetry should stay as far away from direct “advice,” or proscription of any kind. Still, when I sit back and think about the kind of poems that help me through the day – and the months, and the years – these are some of them. Let me know the poems you rely on in this way: send me a message at humanvoiceswakeus1@gmail.com. As I also mention, after this episode I’ll be taking a break from Human Voices Wake Us for at least a month. The best way to support the podcast is to preorder my book Notes from the Grid (coming out February 23), or check out any of my other books: To the House of the Sun, The Lonely Young & the Lonely Old, Bone Antler Stone The poems I read are: Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), How to Live What to Do Galway Kinnell (1927-2014), Tillamook Journal Edith Nesbit (1858-1924), Things That Matter Seamus Heaney (1939-2013), #2 from Lightenings Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962), Joy Louise Glück (1943-), Summer Night W. B. Yeats (1865-1939), A Prayer on Going into My House Emily Brontë (1818-1848), “Often rebuked, yet always back returning” Henry Vaughan (1621-1695), Man Don’t forget to join Human Voices Wake Us on Patreon, or sign up for our newsletter here.  — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/humanvoiceswakeus/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/humanvoiceswakeus/support
  1. Anthology: Poems on How to Live
  2. Anthology: Love Poems from the Last Four Centuries
  3. Advice from Charles Dickens & Alice Munro
  4. First Person: Voices from 1900-1914
  5. The Great Myths #22: The Story of Ragnarok in the Norse Eddas

[Before the crucifixion] Jesus told us to form a circle and hold each other’s hands, and he himself stood in the middle, and said, “Respond to me with ‘Amen.’”

The Song

So he began by singing a hymn and declaring,

“Glory be to you, father.”

And we circled around him and responded to him,

“Amen.”

“Glory to you, word. Glory to you, grace.”

“Amen.”

“Glory to you, spirit. Glory to you, holy one. Glory to your glory.”

“Amen.”

“We praise you, father. We give thanks to you, light, in whom no darkness is.”

“Amen.”

“Why we give thanks, I declare:

I will be saved and I will save.”

“Amen.”

“I will be released and I will release.”

“Amen.”

“I will be wounded and I will wound.”

“Amen.”

“I will be born and I will bear.”

“Amen.”

“I will eat and I will be eaten.”

“Amen.”

“I will hear and I will be heard.”

“Amen.”

“I will be kept in mind, being all mind.”

“Amen.”

“I will be washed and I will wash.”

“Amen.”

Grace Dances

“I will play the flute. Dance, everyone.”

“Amen.”

“I will mourn. Lament, everyone.”

“Amen.”

“A realm of eight sings with us.”

“Amen.”

“The twelfth numbers dances on high.”

“Amen.”

“The whole universe takes part in dancing.”

“Amen.”

“Whoever does not dance does not know what happens.”

“Amen.”

“I will feel and I will stay.”

“Amen.”

“I will adorn and I will be adorned.”

“Amen.”

“I will be united and I will unite.”

“Amen.”

“I have no house and I have houses.”

“Amen.”

“I have no place and I have places.”

“Amen.”

“I have no temple and I have temples”

“Amen.”

“I am a lamp to you who see me.”

“Amen.”

“I am a mirror to you who perceive me.”

“Amen.”

“I am a door to you who knock on me.”

“Amen.”

“I am a way to you, you passerby.”

“Amen.”

Understanding the Song 

“If you respond to my dance, see yourself in me as I speak, and if you have seen what I do, keep silent about my mysteries. You who dance, understand what I do for yours is this human passion I am about to suffer. You could by no means have comprehended what you suffer unless I had been sent as the word to you by the father. You who have seen what I suffer have seen me as suffering, and when you have seen it, you have not stood firm but were completely moved. You were moved to become wise, and you have me for support. Rest in me. Who I am you will know when I depart. What now I am seen to be I am not. You will see when you come. If you knew how to suffer, you would have been able not to suffer. Learn about suffering, and you will be able not to suffer. What you do not know I myself shall teach you. I am your god, not the traitor’s. I want holy souls to be in harmony with me. Know the word of wisdom. Say again with me,

Glory to you, father.

Glory to you, word.

Glory to you, spirit.

Amen.

“If you want to know what I was, once I mocked everything with the word, and I was not put to shame at all. I leaped. But understand everything, and when you have understood, declare,

      Glory to you, father.

      Amen.”

– “The Round Dance of the Cross,” from the Acts of John, translated by Marvin Meyer; in The Gnostic Bible, 352-355.

See also: The Acts of John

Read the other Great Myths here