Four Prayers

December 1, 2016



Closer than words that form in my mind,
closer than tongue that says them,
closer than now where everything happens,
you, my beloved, are this.

I call you gracious but that is a word,
I call you God but that’s an idea,
I call you you but that is a fiction,
you, my beloved, are this.

You blast supernovas and spin every atom
and blink every eye in the world,
you lift every wing and kiss every lover,
you, my beloved, are this.

I turn to myself and ask what I am,
I ask what feels what I feel,
you don’t say a word but tell me with light,
you, my beloved, are this.

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Before the bomb the bullet,
before the bullet the sword,
before the sword the spear,
each one made to hurt the heart
you gave each baby born.

Beloved, we are not worthy of your gifts, we are not worthy.
How you made these eyes to see, we are not worthy.
How you made these ears to hear, we are not worthy.
How you made these hands to touch, we are not worthy.

The child cries for his father shot,
huddled there in the back of the truck.
I saw him in this morning’s news,
his little hand on his father’s back.

Beloved, you are the one we kill,
it is your heart we break.
You are the child who cries in the truck,
you are the dust that soaks his tears.

We want to hold you, we want to rock you,
we want to take you in our arms, but
we are not, we are not, we are not worthy.
Forgive us, beloved, guide us, let us try again.

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At dawn each day I raise my heart
like a flag above my house.
Faded and thin it hangs there motionless
waiting while the first light comes.

You whisper. The flag trembles.
Your breeze arrives from nowhere.
Little waves, like old friends,
make the cloth laugh with them.

Beloved, you are so near
but I can’t see you,
just this happy flapping
in the morning light. 

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Out of beginningless time
the bird of your love arrives
and perches here in my heart.

On its way to endlessness
it has no need for hurry.
It sings and the whole world dances!

Waves bow to their partner the shore,
stars wink and flirt with the night,
the orchard ripens, leaves spin and clap,
even the bugs turn somersaults!

I won’t live forever and I don’t care.
Just to hear your song, beloved,
is all the joy I could ask for.