Poem: “I Had a Dream Last Night”

John Clay Bangs

John Clay Bangs

I Had a Dream Last Night

I had a dream last night.
It was a simple dream.
Really all I remember is the call from God, or an angel:

“If you want to be great in God’s Kingdom, learn to be the servant of all.”

Simple words. A child’s words.
But they weren’t simple in the dream;
They came with all the majesty and force of heaven.

The atmosphere was dark with a golden glow;
And hints of fire and smoke filled the bordered field of vision my brief glimpse afforded.
It was like the heavenly Solomon’s temple of Isaiah’s dream;
With the fiery glow of seraphim and burning embers lighting the scene.
Something misty in the atmosphere gave light its dimension: length, height, width, depth;
Smoky, but not smelling of smoke;
Steamy, but not hot and wet;
Misty, but not cold and damp.

And God Godself was powerfully there.

I was like iron in a forge.
My soul shook and my body rocked at the grandeur of divine presence, ­my spirit reshaped like metal;
Poured into a new mold, but a moving one, not a static cold.
The majestic grandeur of the moment left no other response than to shape my body down;
Down before the radiant gravity of the Ground of All Being.
I saw myself low, knees and toes and tibia, elbows and forearms, and the heels of the palms of my hands;
All touching the dirt floor­, or was it made of marble, cold and hard against my fingers?
My robes were painted by the radiant warmth. Robes!
Earth-stained and reflecting the gold light.
And the burnished color touched my beard. Beard!
A longish scraggle mixed of gray and curly black.
My loose turban, too, autumn-hued by the shining forth of that fire.
A torn cloth circled and dangled with my uncombed, unwashed,
dark hair.

I was no longer the blue-eyed, fair-skinned Euro-American mutt of a me I have always been: mild;
I was a Holy Prophet bowed in the visceral presence of the real God;
The God of Isaiah and Jeremiah and Ezekiel, of Amos and Zachariah and Haggai;
The recipient, ­the victim ­of a vision, an oracle of great and grand import;
Of world-changing, life-transforming consequence;
Like the wheel within a wheel, the throne chariot of God:

The call from God, or an angel;
Simple words. A child’s words:

“If you want to be great in God’s Kingdom, learn to be the servant of all.”

John Clay Bangs


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