Threshold

I stood in my bow tie
One Sunday in May
Before the cathedral,
About to obey

A habit of worship
I'd had from my youth,
More reflex and custom
Than deeply felt truth.

I thought of the gardening
I'd be doing later,
And fingered the dollar
I'd put in the platter.

Preoccupied thus,
I began to ascend
Five steps that would take me
From outside to in,

When my eye was arrested...
As never before...
By two faces that stared
From each side of the door,

Two hideous gargoyles
Set in the stone
That might go unseen
If you weren't there alone.

For many gray years
I had simply passed by.
Gray as the brickwork,
They now caught my eye.

One had a beak.
One was horned and agape,
But otherwise totally
Human in shape.

They stared down upon me
With devilish leers
That put me in mind of
My doubts and my fears.

Four sunken eyes
Deep banked in gray fires
Put me in mind of
A world of desires.

My soul gave a shudder.
I cringed and drew back
As though the Lord's temple
Had launched an attack.

What had these
Medieval monsters to do
With guarding God's threshold?
And why were there two?

I thought of the twoness
Of life, of the pairs
That beset us from birth...
Of the joys and despairs,

The light and the darkness,
Of God and the devil,
The sacred, profane, and
Of good and of evil.

The world is all dual,
Or so it appears,
And all of our efforts
In all of our years

Have shifted the balance
From left of from right
Not a ray to the dark
Nor a shade to the light.

Does it mean in the end
All these twos act as one?
And it isn't a choice of, say...
Father or Son?

Of Creator-creation...
This dual insistence...
On being or non-being,
Essence...existence?

Keep your mind on the Oneness.
It's all that you've got.
And all of the rest,
All the twoness is...Not.

The plan is a clear one,
The one thing we know.
The path is a straight one.
We're going to go.

The glory's in yielding.
Go on with a will.
And I thanked the two angels
Who stared at me still.

So between Him and me,
I did as I should,
Left one at the door,
And ascended to God.