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Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality 3.2 (2003) 246

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Hidden City

Scott Cairns

. . . that you might approach the Jerusalem of the heart...
—Isaac the Least
And now I think Jerusalem abides untouched,
the temple yet intact, its every cornerstone
in place, its vault replete with vivid scent, its ark

alight with vigil lamps whose oil is never spent.
In psalm the pilgrim asks forgiveness, pleads that God
return the Spirit to the heart, and look, the Ghost

had never left, had never for an instant drawn
away, had only watched His presence made obscure
by soul's own intermittent darkening. Just so,

the three companions of the Lord had blindly walked
the lesser part of three dim years before their eyes
beheld the Light that bathed the Son eternally.

Just so, the Light of Tabor spools extending past
the vision of the multitude, if nonetheless
apparent to the meek, the poor, the pure in heart.

Just so, the Holy City bides within the heart,
awaits the day the pilgrim will arrive, will quit
the road, turn in to greet his City's boundless sweep, and see.

Scott Cairns is Professor of English at University of Missouri, Columbia. He is the author of several works of poetry, most recently PhiloKalia: New and Selected Poems (Zoo Press, 2002). His work has appeared in such journals as Prairie Schooner, Sojourners, Image, The Paris Review and