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22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

I would

leaf you green

tree you tall

sky you blue

sun you shine

flower you smell

catch you joy

this Ordinary

lightful livelong


-- Catherine Senne Wallace
Eden Prairie, Minn.

Easter in Kenwood barrio

Christ rises in us
and stands in our circle
aside our smoking backyard barbecue

With a wave and a shout,
he greets our strolling neighbors,
“Happy Easter.”

We continue our twenty-four hour toast to
as, with us, he raises his brown glass bottle of beer.

will be hungover.
“No lo hace,”
he will say,
“remember our hangover
the day after Cana?”

-- Tom Keene
San Antonio


The third time you asked me to forgive you,
I had to tell you I don’t know what it means.

What act is this, forgiving? What acts in this forgiving?
Is it a movement of tongue, or mind, or heart?

You would like my mouth to work.
For me to utter the incantation: “I forgive you.”

Or deeper: To think a thought that releases you.
Or deeper: To feel some turning in my chest.

But none of these organs forgive.
They all have too much to do anyway.

Perhaps forgiveness is the work of the spleen.
That most mysterious and ignored of organs.

Ask 100 educated people what it does
and 95 will not know, except to remind you

it ruptures in car wrecks and in falls from high places
and has to be removed and people live without it.
It holds our blood, circulates it through
a labyrinth of vessels, cleanses impurities.

So fragile, so prone to rupture. When broken,
it cannot heal. It can only be removed.

I still have my spleen. I forgive you.

-- Dale Wisely
Birmingham, Ala.

The Irish Biddy To The Flies

Ye durty little devils,
don’t ye rub your hands at me!
All eyes ye are and buzzing
round me table set for tea.

The sugar bowl or slop jar
to ye ’tis all the same.
For your seed, breed, and generation
I begrudge ye your own name.

Fly. Fly.

“Fly” is what an angel does.
Can ye not hear the fff of sound?
or see the shimmer puff of dust
as her toes push off the ground?
Sure, ’tis lovely how her fingertips
and her overarching wings
“lie” in the silent currents
gliding stillnesses that sing.

While ye, ye plaguey craytures, zing
about on busy wings glazed
like windows in a horse-drawn hearse.

Don’t ye turn all-seeing eyes on me
and drone your curse
and crawl and rub
and crawl and rub
and buzz
your true and ancient Bible name:

-- Margaret Doyle

2002 in Poetry

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 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, August 16, 2002