Poets’ Corner

To Reap the Whirlwind

When, loud and lauded, grifters drift along Who crease their purple pants and sable jackets, I think to beg my memory for a song That bundles sunshine up in yellow packets. Sometimes, however, all I hear is a racket. When funnel clouds demolish mobile homes, We lose both cozy throws and stylish chromes.

Ordinary Time

On a sweeter day of sun and windy sky, The hermit stands in his doorway drinking tea. Though spring declares itself, it’s only January. These gentle southern mountains seem to sigh With longing. Above the trees, a hawk’s thin cry Unspools, a silver thread of hunger. He Listens. Hears his heart’s reply, its plea For…

The Endurance of Memory

My sister Laurene at twenty returns as a vision: a young bride, slender in a blue suit carrying a simple bouquet of white flowers. It’s May 31st, the 35th anniversary of her death,warm and sunny in the Gulf South as hurricaneseason approaches. I am not surprised by this image, remembering her years before she bore…

The Ebbing

She was beginning to mislay our names And also where she came from, who she was— Her childhood inside house and orchard walls, The fruit as warm as sunshine on her palm: The words that should have held the world fell back. Yet in her gestures, there was mystery And something luminous that tried to…

A Year in Reading

It has been a good year for reading. Back in Michigan, Sarah and I read a handful of truly memorable novels together in our little cottage on the edge of the wood. Since leaving home to study theology and the arts here at St. Andrews, I have had an excuse to pick up lots of…

Grey Stone

From youth this cool, grey stone enchanted me, Its beauty one with its simplicity: The Archer of Aphaia poised to strike, Or mighty Neptune with his triple spike, The pointed arches of the Notre-Dame, Ascending heavenward with perfect calm: Their colors were but subtlety and shade, Nor garish nor flamboyant, rather made of naught but…

Sunlight

On asking the philosophers,  What is the sun?, we get in answer, An angel perched; a heap of furze Some god has set ablaze; a burning   Iron that melts from sword to plow To spearhead with the seasons’ turning. And some wise soul guffaws at them   Or, condescending, calls it “poetry” To disbelieve…

Sartre’s Funeral

 Paris, 19 April 1980 Immense, the crowds that line the cortege route Pay homage now to him that set them free, Emancipated from Church piety. Delivered from the bonds of creed, they doubt,  Just as he taught them, urging them to flout God’s pleasure-killing laws of chastity. Hands stretch to touch the hearse; eyes strain…

Death Experienced

By Rainer Maria Rilke Translated by Susan McLean We know nothing about this going hence, which shares nothing with us. We’ve no foundation for showing hate or love and reverence toward death, whose mask of tragic lamentation strangely disfigures him. The world is still full of roles we play. As long as we worry about…

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