Two good poems…

not by me. I’m sharing them instead of something I’ve written because tonight, I feel bereft. Bereft is one of my favorite words, because it sounds so warm, so sweetly sad, like a blanket of loss that is wrapped around your shoulders. I think, implicit in its sound is the hope for newness, even while carrying on without. Regardless, I don’t feel solid enough to write something tonight, breaking my goal only four days into the month. Perhaps I will write, but not post. Who knows what will come out of tonight.

All Saints

Paul Willis

November dawns the cool side of sunny,
and I walk to class thinking what I might suggest
to the eight young writers around the long, dark table.
I could point out once again that the walls in our room
are made of windows, that mountains are trying to get in.

Or I might say, “The soccer coach greeted me
in the parking lot in high spirits. His team is going
to the playoffs; his father, however, is dying of cancer.
Or I might say, “The Filipino maintenance man
asked me this morning what I am teaching.

‘Shakespeare,’ I told him. ‘Is Shakespeare in the arts?’
he asked. ‘Does he write opera? Is he an American?’”
Or perhaps I could share my sorrow about the Korean
pitcher who lost a World Series game in Yankee Stadium
last night. It was midnight, Halloween, there in

Yankee Stadium, but for all of his countrymen
in Korea, it was two o’clock in the afternoon.
In Korea, it had been November for a long time
when the ball sailed into the stands and the pitcher
placed his black glove like a dark flower upon his face.


Reach hither thy finger

William Jolliff

Maybe the wound still oozed, or maybe
it had healed over with scars like golden coins.
Thomas might have noticed, but I doubt it.

True, he placed his finger in the Lord’s hand,
and his hand in the Lord’s side,
and then, we presume, he held his heart

in the bleeding heart. I like to think that.
And I like to think that years later he was still
radiant with holy light. My unholy hunch, though,

is that within a week he learned to doubt
his eyes or his touch, maybe both, maybe
whether he’d really been in the room or not,

or if again the elders had sent him out
for bread or fish, anything to keep his mouth
out of earshot. He wasn’t the type to suffer

his loss in silence, and the more he wondered,
the more they doubted, too. That’s my guess.
And that may be why only John, the youngest

of the bunch, the mystic, the beloved, the mad,
recalled the very day, and cared enough
about belief to recall the shame of doubt.



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