The Second Coming of Evangeline
by Mark Richardson
To be as Evangeline,
to go outward without hope
of ever finding Gabriel, really,
having accepted that Gabriel is already gone,
taken by Existence without her asking him to be taken,
without any thought whatsoever
of what world Evangeline might have made for all
if only she were asked, is to be as Kuan Yin.
Years Evangeline spent in serving those who were
taken, consent less and spent at the last.
We know the comfort she gave to the dying.
What world Evangeline would have given us
had Gabriel stayed home?
That is the world we must write now.
Before this “now” such a question
would have cost us the poem.
No Gabriel gone.
No Evangeline to find him.
No story to tell.
We needed the story, the poem,
Evangeline’s model of gratitude and love,
a strong heart at peace with an Existence that gave all to her,
every thing, and experience, too.
Then took it all back again; or so it seems.
“Now” the questing rises with a bloodless tide
What became of Evangeline after Gabriel died in her arms?
What if he had never died at all,
had not met the fair Evangeline.
Would she have been so different?
I don’t imagine her so.
I am sure she just went back to doing what she was doing before she never met him,
after he never left her for the war.
All those years before she found him again
just long enough to lose him, again, never happened.
All the change in Evangeline would have been in us.
I see Evangeline three days after Gabriel’s death
much the same as she was three days before she ever met him.
She overlooks the ocean,
perched upon her own bottom,
knees up under her chin,
arms holding her own legs in an embrace
such as to keep her body together,
as it seems her body threatens an escape
in every direction at once.
That image, a human body in anguish of loss and loneliness,
held in suspension without editorial,
juxtaposed with an accompanying image of Evangeline softly saying,
“How grateful I am to feel these things.
How amazing to be in the grave there with Gabriel
and yet here beside the powerful tide
as in the days when I was young before I ever met him!”
And in those years which follow the poem, I see Evangeline ascend,
transfigured by a light she may have missed without Gabriel;
a rationale her body uses to keep itself from just running away
– in all directions away –
from the pain
which seems, as well, to come in from all directions.
Not just once, but everyday, like the tide.
She marvels at the price and cost of free will.
The body may not ascend with reason alone, not too far.
Rather, Evangeline’s ascension doesn’t come, at last, when every event finally makes sense.
If that were true then she would be tethered to Gabriel’s grave, as well as her own,
death being the sense maker and un-maker.
Evangeline’s ascension comes only in the present moment when all is still.
Struck in that float of Existence itself,
Evangeline feels everything
and calls it good.
Suddenly all chaff is grain.
She rises rainbow-like tying the sky together in the ribbon of her new body,
Evangeline becomes our newest promise,
death is not the end, nor is this human life our beginning.
All possible outcomes and beginnings held in suspension.
At the place where Father Sky touches Earth Mother,
in that secret place where language is made,
a new baby is born.
It’s language a cry and a poem and finally
the stillness between each word,
the words themselves only the tide,
but the energy the words contain, Ah! there the stillness
and much dashing
and sometimes dancing.
This is the Second Coming of Evangeline
and Kuan Yin.
Evangeline is Kuan Yin.
To have the poem and Reality too,
one’s ear must be tuned to the Stillness.