My Postman
(A Masque of Agnosticism)

I saw my soul as Heaven's postman.
A simple thought I knew,
But as a simple fellow,
The best that I could do.
And I had faith he'd bring a message,
Before my days were past,
That would clarify life's mystery
And set me right at last.
If part of me was deity,
I guessed my postman was,
For if soul does not return to God,
Then likely nothing does.
But I suffered, like so many,
From a wavering belief,
Anxious for my postman/soul
To bring Good News relief,
Like Mercury, wing-footed
Angel of the Lord,
A postal-ic missionary
Bringer of The Word.
And I set a box for letters
At the border of my lot
And waited patiently to see
If Good News came… or not.
One seldom sees his postman,
And I never spoke to mine,
But communications kept arriving
Which I took for a sign
That the message-world he came from,
Like a ghostly apparition,
Had a sacred, mystic Meaning
Beyond my poor cognition.
So I went about my daily chores
And ran each day to see
If Good News from the Great Beyond
Was in the cards for me.
O, there were catalogues from Mammon,
That dark and greedy Lord,
With glossy, tempting riches
I never could afford.
But these were just a test, I thought,
An easy test to pass,
Just junk mail for recycling,
Not Priority... not First Class.
Though on occasion came epistles
I thought might be from above,
That spoke of Charity and Friendship,
And even hints of Love,
The passing years increased my fears
That life would come to naught
If my soul could not deliver
The certain News I sought.
You can’t feel good about the world
Or what life’s all about,
By laboring on day after day
In blind, agnostic doubt.
One’s spirit must know something
About spiritual duration,
Revival, rebirth, renaissance,
Resurrection, and salvation.
A pilgrim-soul upon its quest
Must sense it will survive.
Did my postman’s route include a way
To save himself alive?
Do simple folk and righteous
Have any hope or chance
To join hands one day with Jesus
In their own Last Supper dance?
That’s all I wanted of my postman,
Just his spiritual condition,
SAVED or NOT... for God’s sweet sake!
A simple declaration!
But life grew short, and nothing came,
So I made a desperate plan
To intercept my postman
And face him man to man.
One October morning then,
I took a folding chair
Across the yard, out to the road,
And set up station there.
“I’ll wait no more,” I whispered.
“I’ll have News of any kind.”
And I raised the little signal flag
On the mailbox of my mind.
The fellow now would have to stop,
Had he News for me or no.
The Special Delivery I sought
I really needed now!
But old Sol rose and passed overhead,
His noon hour came and went,
And the cold day just got colder
As he made his slow descent.
And when no postman came that day,
And all my hopes were gone,
The letterbox stood empty
And the little flag was... down.
“O, wretched soul!” I cried, denied
All faith in the Hereafter.
But as I turned to go, behind
I heard a gentle laughter.
THIS IS YOUR POSTMAN SPEAKING!
Said a voice. DON’T TURN AROUND!
NOW LISTEN! AND I’LL TELL YOU
WHY YOUR SIGNAL FLAG IS DOWN.
AS YOU SEE, I HAVE NO MESSAGE, NEWS,
OR MIRACLES FOR YOU.
I BRING NO REVELATIONS,
BUT I CAN TELL YOU WHAT TO DO.
YOUR HOPES AND FEARS ARE NATURAL,
AND DOUBTS ARE NO MISDEEDS.
‘THERE LIVES MORE FAITH IN HONEST DOUBT
THAN ALL THE WORLD’S CREEDS.’ *                            *Tennyson
BUT LOOK NO MORE IN MY DIRECTION.
BE STILL! FACE STRAIGHT AHEAD.
LOOK CAREFULLY AND TELL ME NOW
WHAT YOU SEE THERE INSTEAD.
I said, “I see my wife there... in the garden.
Those are peas and beans she’s hoeing.
There’s a birdbath by the lilac,
And I see the grass needs mowing.
I can see my cocker spaniel
Watching from the stoop,
And just behind the cottage,
I can see the chicken coop.
That old Chevy in the driveway
Has one more payment due.
And there’s a patch of river birches,
And an oak tree and a yew.”
JUST SO, said the postman, NOW THAT GOOD
WOMAN WORKING... THAT LITTLE GARDEN SPOT,
THE DOG, THE LILAC, BEANS, AND PEAS,
THE UNMOWN GRASS... THE LOT!
THAT CHEVY WITH ONE PAYMENT,
THAT HOME BENEATH THE TREES?
EXISTENCE IS THE MIRACLE.
MAKE YOUR GOOD NEWS OF THESE.