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You Alone
“You are my God. My happiness
lies in you alone.”
-- Psalm 16:2

You’ve become accustomed to our lies,
the pious blasphemies we utter
on our knees, worthy of David,
fresh from Bathsheba’s bed,
ready to send Uriah to the front,
the letter in his hand.

But what if we had only truths to tell,
if only transparencies to show,
no Hittite offering
to cover up the void.
Are our dysfunctional truths
more endurable than squeaky fibs?

So thank God for sturdy frauds,
for Davids -- easy on the ethics --
who know the vacancies within,
who limp -- but oh! -- with style, brocading
golden glories out of the junkyard of the heart,
hoping the Lord God does not wince.

-- Fr. Kilian McDonnell, OSB
Collegeville, Minn.

The alleluias of water lilies
blossom white as vigil lights
in a sanctuary of shadow and bog.

Three turtles stretch their necks,
like the slides of trombones,
from a rooftop of fallen tamarack.

They are sidemen
in God’s shoreline symphonia.

A bluebottle fly hems
the garment of morning.

-- Chet Corey
Bloomington, Minn.

The horizontal halo
of a broad-brimmed straw hat
is tied with a ribbon
under Sister Esther’s apple face.
Wearing a pink duster
she pushes her wheelbarrow like a rickshaw
and bends over
to trim back September’s florid roses.
She knows that even the Almighty
can use some help
tidying up unruly patches
of the planet.
And, whereas the Creator
is largely an absentee landlord,
she is both here
and handy with the pruning shears.

-- Sr. Pat Schnapp, RSM
Adrian, Mich.

Mood Change

how a patch
of chicory and daisy

spared by the mower
in a manicured field

could make me laugh.

-- Sr. Joan Breider
Green Bay, Wis.

Thou Shalt Love The Lord Thy God
With Thy Whole Heart, Soul,
Mind, And Strength
the comand’s cosmic.
What about if I make a pot
of hazelnut coffee,
pick a summer bouquet
and put it on the table,
fry up some bacon and eggs,
turn on a CD of Vivaldi
-- “The Seasons,” probably --
and invite God for brunch instead?

-- Sr. Pat Schnapp, RSM
Adrian, Mich.

Ring Out the Bells

What I miss most
about European Christmas
are the bells.

Here, at best,
cheaply built churches
sputter out
taped music,
metallic and tinny
as their pre-fab steeples
which poke at heaven.

is a matter for bells,
deep, resounding,
sonorous bells
which sound forth
like the voice of God:
“my Son, my Son, my Son.”

The Word made flesh
without Whom nothing --
if the world is to know,
the world must hear.

-- Bonnie Thurston
Wheeling, W.Va.

Use the links below to read previous Poetry pages. Use your browser's Back button to return to this page.

1999 in POETRY

2000 in POETRY

Poems should be limited to about 50 lines and preferably typed. Please send poems to NCR POETRY, 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City MO 64111-1203. Or via e-mail to poetry@natcath.org or fax (816) 968-2280. Please include your street address, city, state, zip and daytime telephone number. NCR offers a small payment for poems we publish, so please include your Social Security number.

National Catholic Reporter, September 15, 2000