Perspective

Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Some poems

Our Better Angels - Marjorie Stelmach

Returning,
we take the old precautions:
avoid wearing white on white,
remember in the pubs
to rise to no one’s bait,
betray no recognition
of the sooty gargoyles
lolling above
in their bat suits
and tongues.
Despite our loyalties,
we toss like you
on feather pillows.
On the underground
we evade the gaze
of those, transparently mad,
who have boarded with us
and are speaking
to God.

At least it’s peacetime.
Even so,
there’s October to weather.
By moonrise,
the lost ones
who huddle under bridges
will have burned the last
of the day’s trash;
some won’t survive
the night, and we
must learn again
how to bear it.
High on stone cornices,
gargoyles
sharpen icicles
on the pitiless winds,
while below in the shops
children
are trying on bones.

As November lengthens,
it’s hard to remember
our mission.
We’re so overdue for joy,
we hook up with strangers,
unfolding our shivering souls
beneath down comforters
that lie
as lightly as kin
on our bodies.
In our reckless need, we neglect
to hide our celestial flesh,
let slip our flawlessness, allow
our wings. By Advent,
we remember the reason
we left in the first place.
It wasn’t the wars, the callousness,
the cold. It may be
impossible to love you.


Sine Qua Non - A. E. Stallings

Your absence, father, is nothing. It is nought—
The factor by which nothing will multiply,
The gap of a dropped stitch, the needle’s eye
Weeping its black thread. It is the spot
Blindly spreading behind the looking glass.
It is the startled silences that come
When the refrigerator stops its hum,
And crickets pause to let the winter pass.

Your absence, father, is nothing—for it is
Omega’s long last O, memory’s elision,
The fraction of impossible division,
The element I move through, emptiness,
The void stars hang in, the interstice of lace,
The zero that still holds the sum in its place.


Lot's Wife - Dana Littlepage Smith

Do not look behind you.
--Gen. 19:17

So simple a mistake. They say I turned to look;
instead it was to listen. I did not know: only the dead
can stand the music of the spheres made mortal.

Caught in my hood, the hard chords of chaos:
the childish scream, the mother's litany as she names
the loss which instantly unnames her.

And then the inconceivable: between the flint
blast and the crack of iron, I heard
the burning of the scorched moth wing,

the lily as its petals crisp to white fire,
but more than these, the footfall
of a naked man who runs to nothing.

And so I chose this brine,
now crystals shift. The salt dissolves
and I want to speak.

Whore of all hopes, I now believe
some stories survive
in order to remake their endings.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Richard said...

I hope there are angels. Sometimes people wander into my life that are unaccountably good and helpful and then wander out again. I wonder about them.

10:41 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

I've watched too many bad movies about angels - and then there's the OT, where they do a lot of the dirty work - they seem kind of scary to me.

1:00 AM  
Anonymous Richard said...

yeah,I didn't mean the scary angels; I meant the ones that encourage you, make you feel better about yourself, help you out when you least expect it, you know the incredably rare kind:) Great poems and St.Pat's music by-the-way, I really enjoyed those posts. Rich

2:13 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

There was Raphael who helped Tobit and Sarah :) The angels are one of the most challenging parts of Ignatian discernment, for me.

2:22 PM  

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