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Longing for the Infinite: 2 poems by Dr. Alan Altany

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

Marbled background in orange, white, and purplish blue, image by Milena Mazurek, on Pixabay, modified.

marbled background, image by Milena Mazurek, on Pixabay, modified

Longing for the Infinite, Finding the Finite

“The soul must long for God in order to be set aflame by God’s love;

but if the soul cannot yet feel the longing, then it must long for the

longing. To long for the longing is also from God.”

—Meister Eckhart

Without settling for any tepid,

half-hearted and stifling control,

resisting the lure of the superficial

and the dull momentum of apathy,

the human soul inherently longs

for the love of its perfect Source

and for the Beauty that remains

after all the shadows have passed.

This gracious, gutsy longing for God

opens out into a full immersion

into the labyrinth of human life,

for the Infinite involves the finite

as a mother pregnant with hope.

No ethereal ache or fantasy desire,

the heart is restless for the Sacred

Heart for which it was utterly made.

Without clutching or clinging to

the finite, the yearning soul

abandons otherworldly escapes

for an unrestricted personal plunge

into the woven intimacies of living

in this near side of all infinities;

submergence in all finitudes is

a concealed soul-stretch for God.



Yeshua’s Shalom is God’s goal,

a graced wholeness, for us

in the nomadic deserts of our days

and the dark nights of our souls,

a blessing in the coldness of time,

a share in such godly stillness.

The fire-forged, sacred Shalom

bears the forever stigmata scars

held in a divinely borne silence

in harmony with truth and peace,

a cosmic and personally social

Shalom in all comings & goings,

the very attribute and attitude

of God incarnated full-scale,

in the midst of timely faith,

into the hearts of devotees

of Yeshua, the source of all

Shalom from here to eternity,

from depths of infinite calm.

Shalom Aleichem.

(Previously published in Dr. Altany's book,

A Beautiful Absurdity: Christian Poetry of the Sacred)


Dr. Alan Altany is a partially retired, septuagenarian

college professor of religious studies and theology

who is still teaching. He has been a factory worker, swineherd on a farm, hotel clerk, lawn maintenance

worker, high school teacher, editor of a small magazine

of poetry, director of religious education for churches,

truck driver, and novelist, among other things. In 2022,

he published a book of poetry, A Beautiful Absurdity: Christian Poetry of the Sacred. His website is:

(Dr. Altany pictured here with Zeke.)

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