Monday, March 31, 2014

Prayer

When I first started getting serious about poetry (again), it was, as I recall, about 2000. Fully 14 years ago now, which I can hardly believe. Anyway, I and a couple of friends would every three weeks or so go to lunch, and each of us would share a poem we had found that particularly touched us or spoke to us. It was a beautiful spring day in Tampa and, as I recall, we had lunch outside some place. The poet I chose that day was Marie Howe, and the poem--I could probably find it if I looked--was about her taking care of her dying brother. I later wrote a poem about this experience we all had of her. All of which is just a long introduction to this latest poem of hers that I encountered a few months ago, saved, and then just recently rediscovered. She has perfectly described my own prayer life, which, I think, is probably not that much different than a lot of people I know whose brains are always going at 100 miles an hour. Poetry says it so much better.

Prayer

                                       
                                           
                                     
Every day I want to speak with you. And every day something more important
calls for my attention—the drugstore, the beauty products, the luggage

I need to buy for the trip.
Even now I can hardly sit here

among the falling piles of paper and clothing, the garbage trucks outside
already screeching and banging.

The mystics say you are as close as my own breath.
Why do I flee from you?

My days and nights pour through me like complaints
and become a story I forgot to tell.

Help me. Even as I write these words I am planning
to rise from the chair as soon as I finish this sentence.
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