The Herb Of Grace

Theology and Poetry, Politics and Prose

Thursday, March 5th in the Season of Lent March 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joel @ 1:30 am

Toast by Leonard Nathan,  is one of the best poems there is about the communal nature of suffering:

there was a woman in Ithaca
who cried softly all night
in the next room and helpless
I fell in love with her under the blanket
of snow that settled on all the roofs
of the town, filling up
every dark depression

next morning
in the motel coffee shop
I studied all the made-up faces
of women.  was it the middle-aged blonde
who kidded the waitress
or the young brunette lifting
her cup like a toast

love, whoever you are,
your courage was my companion
for many cold towns
after the betrayal of Ithaca,
and when I order coffee
in a strange place, still
I say, lifting, this is for you.


2 Responses to “Thursday, March 5th in the Season of Lent”

  1. Judith Brannen Says:

    This is a beautiful one……

  2. Al Mason Says:

    When I was at Pacem in Terris these past few days I came across this poem in the St. Stephen Prayerbook I took with me – did you write them there? I read it to the two ladies who served us dinner – all through the poem – they kept on saying “oh!” – “that’s beautiful!” – “that’s wonderful!” – “oh thank you!” – if you wrote it when you were there – they would probably love to receive the poems – hope all is well.

    A prayerful poem while on hermitage

    The leaves just fall.
    I am so un-alone
    Here at my hermitage
    Deep in the woods
    Looking out at the prairies
    I am so un-alone
    The heater goes ting-ting
    And the windows hug me loosely
    Like glasses
    The basket of bread, cheese, and fruit
    Is my guide of provision

    The sunlight and wind
    Shimmer and spin
    The yellow and brown leaves
    Like multi colored quarters
    Glimmering off the bottom of
    A wishing pond.
    The bed is here for me
    And with me
    My friend the teapot
    And my friend rocking chair the giant
    Big enough for any posture of
    My tired body
    My breath leaks out through my
    In steadier and steadier rhythms
    I’m sure there’s animals out there
    And they pray for me
    I am so un-alone
    The only thing I lack (and do not miss)
    Is the clamor of human voices (my own and others)
    Climbing mountains of superiority and insecurity
    Foolishness we speak
    Often times we do.

    All these things which journey
    With me now
    My companions
    My friends
    They say one silent word:

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