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Natural theology from the Sherman bench

East Lansing, May 2003

If I really loved Jesus I would surely not be here in the sunshine.
I'd be trying to love the poets now reading in a room without me.
If I really, really loved I would not even think what I think,

and it would go easier. Because my neighbors' dogs bark
at dawn for sheer joy. Because like them I have known joy.
I have matched and folded the family socks, survived history

so far, seen my small desires satisfied. Did I come all this way
to sit on a bench? Did the ragged goose feather once have a home?
It's too hot to sit long in the sun. Can we, can we, can we, the girl

asks her mother, and her brother hitches his pants and runs fast
as he can down the wrong path. His sister calls and he runs back,
sniffs a yellow tulip. Oh do what you want says her mother

and the new weeds, and the cardinal says I will do what I can.