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Fourth Week

I imagine that he woke slowly,
in the way I emerge from deep sleep,
crossing boundaries,
from life to life,
from dream to sensual world.

And such dreams!
The anguish as he faced his death.
The shame to be mocked, ridiculed.
The pain of torture and dying,
and the isolation,
more than anything the terrible loneliness,
as friends ran or kept their distance.

And then traveling through all-time
in such a little time of 40 hours.

I imagine that the tomb was dark and cool and musty,
In that strange rock underground of dry places,
it must have been the smell and the cool that brought him round
gnawing hunger and memories of a desert fast.

Alive again in his body!
I wonder at the sensation and the emotion
that flooded his awakening brain
as he rose from his rocky bed.

I imagine, when the stone gave way to an eastern vista,
the sun was shining low on the horizon.
As he emerged from the darkness
He must have been nearly blinded by the light.

But as his eyes adjusted,
pupils shrinking as Teacher grew,
I imagine that he walked,
carefully picking his way among stunned soldiers.

I imagine, in the stillness of that morning,
he heard first the birds, the songs of the birds,
there had always been birds.


-- Paul N. Duckro
St. Louis


I walk
in wide circles
the limits
of good taste.

I enter areas
not of my own
I hold
the secret sins
of many
in ears
that are always

-- (Fr.) Stuart Juleen
San Antonio


I miss being touched,
the homecoming hug,
the balm of backrubs
that heal like aloe on burns.

I miss the casual pat
that slips into caress,
the hand across the table,
the acquiescent nudge,
the fleeting squeeze,
what Ilka Chase called
“the tentative toe” exploring
the possibility of reconciliation
in the night.

I miss rubbing shoulders at the show,
kisses on the back
of the neck,
the gentle revelatory exposure
of self in skin against skin.

I miss feeling enveloped,
feeling mattered, feeling centered.
I miss being touched.

-- Margery Frisbie
Arlington Heights, Ill.

5:45 a.m.

He sits with one unglazed doughnut
and a cup of black coffee.
He does not acknowledge
the presence of other customers.

The manager, without flourish,
had waved off the little man’s
offer of coins from his coat.
The man had nodded gratitude.

He takes his place and arranges
doughnut and coffee
on the little table.
He pauses and takes a deep breath.

He takes up the doughnut
and inhales fully and puts it
back down. Again he pauses
and closes his eyes and opens them.

He takes it up again and
holds it in both hands and pauses.
He closes his eyes
and mutters under his breath.

He takes a bite and,
eyes still closed, chews slowly.
“Praise Yahweh,” he says
and Yahweh is indeed praised.

-- Dale Wisely
Birmingham, Ala.

2001 in Poetry

2000 in Poetry

1999 in Poetry

Poems should be previously unpublished and 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 topoetry@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, May 11, 2001