Breviary: Afoot With Moses, about Moses on Mount Sinai…



Edward Carlos taught at The University of the South for 36 years, where he organized a county poetry society and an “Art Sanctuary” called IONA, which brought around 90 artists and writers a year to share their creativity with the public. His own artwork titles are versions of haiku. He currently writes for Brent Raynes’ Alternate Perception Magazine online.


Asked why he wrote Breviary, he explains: “The patriarch Moses intrigues me as to his encounter with light on Mount Sinai. Moses was a subject of one of the initial drawings of 48 images begun in 2021, during isolation and since, continuing via the Covid variations. I chose Moses’ event on Sinai to be a significant moment as to Moses’ own encounter with a supernal world. The imagery of facing a deification bringing forth the Ten Commandments was my defining point, a face darkened with ash. I envisioned the various complex levels of encountering the angelic world, with an integration of human life and the implications interwoven between Heaven and Earth, hence the subtitle: “Afoot with Moses.” 



Carlos with “Elijah” drawing with china marker on luan wood panel 8’x4′ (2022), Firefly Exhibit, Cowan, TN. Photo provided by Wonderlust



Breviary: Afoot With Moses



the host rises before the sun.


shortcuts and midway, like afternoon is a passage

past the light of noon to somewhere else ….

I sense the longing in you, almost an extravagance

so decide to wait until you arrive. 


did you promise to return? another incarnation

or was this another necessity? a soaring for purity?


if time is but an oscillation, indiscriminately pounding,

beating in the margin of things, of concepts, is this 

space that is the longing

outside of the parameters of words …

a hinge, weaving between dawn and midnight?

are we

too early, for this? matins. four a.m.; six a.m.

are we too late for what might have been – Vespers

am I too easily wrought, showing too much

my willingness?


or do we each search for a memory of flesh 

on flesh, flesh in flesh, as it might have been

or if was once? all settles. the verse is hidden

inside an emptiness that gives us pause.

a monstrance composed of stars, 

a beautiful rose window who watches with 

a concentrated singular eye.


the regard is

waiting, thus, writing

this – 

the muscling into a deliverance, because

the body forgets the skeleton within

and we each find a mind forgetting substance

while willing each of us to be unto the other.


the soul, that intransigent depth


at long last what the body bore as wistful, 

the foreplay that form is. what we sought

comes forward, shaping the readings.


consciousness becomes the ascending act.


my shoulders press back into the wet sod, into

the smell of green weeds,

an act of prayer

a longing, my way to worship

my thighs thirst, thrusting upward to where words

pause, and lips surrender, and the reach downward is

one of trembling,

to meet trembling


and at the edge of time, when hours

mean little, where space opens as to transcend

that wedge, where moments meet the heft

of endurance

in this moment, 

ecstasy cries out, outward to you –

heard coming from you, a line cast

into the ocean. 


the bearing, then, the thrusting, the struggle

pulling, giving in to what is given

as the elastic gods receive you, and you are

open to receive what is a well, a tunnel

into an abyss


below, above,

you hear the singing in the waters

waves flowing, clouds parting,

mountains heaving, mist rising,

and you see the moon curled within

at the level of a lake landward bound

reflecting beneath the light 

a verse to be read, a poem that forms

on the momentary surface, once again

stridently reaching upward as an image

as an embrace of self and the other, 

a fetus and your own fetus, each

now circling anew, crying outward, reaching

at the base of night and born of what is.