I begin with a poem, which I dedicate with all my heart to the mysterious “one man” summoned by the poet:
Come Holy Spirit,
bending or not bending the grasses,
appearing or not above our heads in a tongue of flame,
at hay harvest or when they plough in the orchards or when
covers crippled firs in the Sierra Nevada.
I am only a man; I need visible signs.
I tire easily, building the stairway of abstraction.
Many a time I asked, you know it well, that the statue in church
lift its hand, only once, just once, for me.
But I understand that signs must be human,
therefore call one man, anywhere on earth,
not me—after all I have some decency—
and allow me, when I look at him, to marvel at you.
For me, for many years, Jeremiah has been that one man.
My thesis is simple and, I trust, audacious: each of the prophets, in the present instance Jeremiah, is an “other” of Yahweh.
As God’s compassionate and clairvoyant and inclusive image, each prophet strives for a divine (which is to say, truly human) breakthrough in the human tribe. Lacerating, intemperate, relentless, the