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On Hierophany

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One example of hierophany is the apparition of angels.
This is a new word I overheard this morning. It occurs
when the divine realm manifests — or the word intrudes — 
into our quotidian realm. The natural one, an untidy
fleshliness of the ordinary. Or the sacred and profane
is another way to say this. I asked whether it is a hernia,
and the answer was no. A herniated condition is viscera
on viscera — a disc, organs, the skin, or nerves. Besides,
such a comparison would be profane. A figure of speech
already exists, I said, in a hieratic silence of cursive
writing long ago dead. Not long ago, those two phrases
dwelled in separate worlds. I dare you to use the word
hernia in a poem, said a friend. So I not only used
the word, I invited God into language. Or God existed
before language, while God is also the word. Remember,
all theophanies are forms of  hierophany. However,
the converse is not always true — not all hierophanies
are theophanies — or God visible in our world.

Source: Poetry (April 2014)

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

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On Hierophany

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