When I was younger, I held God in my head
Michelangelo presented him --
a bearded old man in the clouds, afloat,
pointing a finger down
to create an image and likeness of
And I used to think, he looks grumpy and haughty
dont want to be like him; not his likeness, please
And then I
would scruple myself about the sinfulness of blasphemy,
and resort to the
safety of formal prayer:
God nicely boxed in a mysterious trinity.
But God wouldnt stay there.
drop-kicked me about, highs and lows,
grief and pain chewing away at my
God just wouldnt stay put in the box.
I felt the spirit
warm and comforting, absorbing the worst of the blows,
Always there, soft, touching, protective
like that gel that surrounds a
Filling in the gouges eaten away by time,
scalding wounds of change.
Making the goings-on somehow tolerable, somehow
A more reflective me now, a more seasoned view --
getting used to
the shape Im in.
More able to accept myself as I am.
And now I
think about the day the canned ham will be opened.
(Hearing the gasp as the
key turns on the vacuum- packed tin.)
Then I hope to see the bright light of
not as a remote being, not some stranger afloat in the clouds,
rather that same surrounding Spirit now in full beam,
the same Old Friend
who got me there,
saw me through it all, held me together,
into a likeness made for heaven.
Then, I dream (oh, yes, I dream);
become a soaring image and likeness of that
Freed from the restraints of time and space,
able to rejoin old
friends and old loves,
radiant, uninhibited, savoring
within the loving cosmos,
of this our
-- Amelia Herlihy
Jesus on 12 Wheels
Posing as Salvation Army truck
That claimed a fraction of my
Daughters clothes not
A bare two years beyond
Her sudden death. Before
box the driver
Raised up in his cab
Does pause I feel to
-- Saul Bennett
for your journey.
Where you are
there will be no roads,
no shoes, no feet.
into that space
where Seraphim fire
(justice and peace shall kiss)
and yes and no are the
Take only your willing heart,
which will burn so white
ashes will rain like blossoms
down, down upon
all you have ever
-- Mary Vineyard
The judge gave him life, we say
with no sense of the
or the arrogance
or the enormity
of sentences given out
in courtrooms across the nation.
God gave him life.
mother gave him life.
The judge takes life, condemning
cells or coffins
which are pretty much the same
thing, when you think
-- Robert Johnson
2001 in Poetry
2000 in Poetry
1999 in Poetry
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National Catholic Reporter, December 14,