The Circumference of God


Before it expanded to conclude a sermon the week of the Boston Marathon explosions, “The Circumference of God” surfaced in response to a poem called “The Diameter of a Bomb.” In that poem, forwarded mid-week after the attacks outside the church I happened to be ordained at, poet Yehuda Amichai tells how the impact of a bomb less than two feet in diameter expands to encompass the world. It fit the sense I had earlier that week of the event being like an earthquake whose epicenter is most immediately affected, yet whose outward pulse rapidly travels beyond the point of the rupture.

By Saturday night the immediate drama appeared concluded, and an entire city checked its pulse. Friends returned home, loved ones signaled how they were, and Neil Diamond brought an anthem to Fenway Park. It seemed to me we had a book-end for the moment, at least, to the diameter of the bomb that opened the week, in the circumference God reaches beyond.

“The Circumference of God”

The circumference of God may be felt, if not measured,
in distances exceeding the diameters of bombs,
in runners toward the wounded (not from),
in hospitals drawing on lessons we’ve brought them,
in fearlessly pushing past lobbyist’s guns.

The circumference of God may be felt, if twice measured,
from here to Chechnya (and the Czech Republic),
to places we learn most when broken in two,
to places whose outlines are not far away,
with sidewalks and café’s and God’s wounded too.

The circumference of God may be felt, if still tracing,
in Guinness’s raised in Fenway today,
in friends home from Maine, sons edging the lawn,
in bodies wept from Boston to Texas,
in sopranos praying, Sweet Caroline sung.


by William B. Jones, April 20, 2013



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