I’m not crossing to cross back
The poem “Crossing” first appeared in the New Criterion.
The water is one thing, and one thing for miles.
The water is one thing, making this bridge
Built over the water another. Walk it
Early, walk it back when the day goes dim, everyone
Rising just to find a way toward rest again.
We work, start on one side of the day
Like a planet’s only sun, our eyes straight
Until the flame sinks. The flame sinks. Thank God
I’m different. I’ve figured and counted. I’m not crossing
To cross back. I’m set
On something vast. It reaches
Long as the sea. I’m more than a conqueror, bigger
Than bravery. I don’t march. I’m the one who leaps.
I don’t consider Jericho Brown a very religious person. But in the line “I’ve figured and counted,” he makes a reference to counting the cost of his mission.
“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’” (Luke 14:25-30, New International Version)
He adds his name to Romans 8:37, which some people consider as the exclamation point of Romans 8. Maybe the book of Romans,
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I’m not crossing to cross back. But this poem resonates with other vibrations. Millions of Buddhists recite the mantra “Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha.” It is not merely an individual thing, as it could be rendered as “Gone, gone, gone all the way over, everyone gone to the other shore, enlightenment, hail!” I don’t know to say “Amen” in Buddhist, but I believe many Buddhists would sympathetically vibrate with this poem.
But what about me? Where does this poem come to me as a student of the New Message from God? I practice to be strong and competent. But I don’t practice to be a master, as there are no masters living in the world. I hope and work to fulfill the mission I brought into the world. But there is even more. This is from the teaching “Higher Education” in the book “Wisdom from the Greater Community, Book 1.”
“Knowledge is not only your ability to perceive the truth and to resonate with the truth, it also contains the memory of your life beyond this world and your reason for coming here. Everyone has come into the world to contribute and to learn to contribute; everyone has come into the world to learn more about the world. A few who have come into the world will graduate from it. By this, I mean that they will not need to come back here again.”
Is it foolish for me to even aspire to such a thing? Perhaps. But like all others in the world, I am working on learning the lessons of the world. But I read this poem, and happily think “I’m not crossing to cross back.”
Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! We are students and advocates of the the New Message from God. We are members of a worldwide community. We seek to assist the world in successfully navigating difficult times ahead. We seek to assist the world in successfully emerging into a greater community of intelligent life. You will also find some poetry. Find out more about us here. Contact us here.