i hope Your kin(g)dom’s halls are walled
with tree trunks
with canopies for roofs – in shades of green
never seen before by human eyes
and veritable riots of flowers, fruits,
everywhere i look! – and, when i need
a rest from color after vibrant color,
i hope the leafy canopy gives way
i almost believe
Your whole infinity
could curl up in its blue-black folds, with room
to spare for all your nursing galaxies.
i’ve never understood
how they can read Your declaration “Good!
very Good!” – read how
You would not cease from making till You stood
amidst a million billion nebulae
that each great downdraft of Your mighty wings
sent aswirl with dust and heat that coalesced
into stars and planets, split again
into seas and lands, cells, plants, and only then
only then did You rest
as the milky way jingled on Your wrist –
they read of this
and then they paint Your heaven sterile white
as far as eye can see!
unbroken vault of
devoid of all the variegating shades
and creatures that You made with Your own breath
and eons of delight.
i hope your kin(g)dom’s halls
are loud with birdsong
and prowling with cats, and rippling with fishes
i hope new life-forms bud a thousandfold
instead of shrinking down to human beings
and angels stock-still in one solemn mass;
for unity need not require extinction –
look lovelier when draped in gauzy rainbow,
a diadem of ivy laced with stars
and shadows silking over You like feathers –
and humankind alone, even backed by angels
cannot think of enough new ways to praise You…
so let the birds of the air, the slinking things,
the fish of the sea and seeds that split the dirt
join in on the praise of You that words don’t cover
and that rings clearer
through brown boughs than spotless white.
If you use this piece, please credit it to Avery Arden and link this website. I also invite you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how you’re using it!
Hear Avery read this poem on YouTube.
About this poem: It’s important for us to reimagine the heavens we’ve been taught – for not only is whatever God’s kin(g)dom looks like far beyond anything our finite human minds can imagine, but in particular those endless uniform clouds and multitudes of faceless angels are antithetical to God’s love for diversity and color and life.
I wrote this poem because I’ve received so very many messages from people on my tumblr blog asking me in fear whether their beloved pet will be with them in heaven; or whether they’ll still be able to do the things they enjoy and see the people they love in heaven…and after much thinking and studying and praying I’ve found that the answer is yes! yes, of course! For what God calls Good here on earth (drawing from Genesis 1), God will restore, renew, transform for the coming age – not destroy.