Talked to six high school students this morning, Two young men and four young women, for 20 Minutes each. Ostensibly the discussion was all About college admission essays, but one thing I Have learned in life is to be quiet and listen and Out will pour real honest naked hard holy grace, And there it was, child after lanky child. So very Many masks worn as armor. So many polite bits Of college admissions essays that skated over the Stories they were so desperate to tell they would Even tell me—given the chance, the shy window Through which to whisper. When we were done I stood up rattled and blessed. Such terrible gifts And such generosity in the giving. I remembered Confession, in the old days, when the old shutter Made of oak or pine would shiver open suddenly And a voice, often so calm and gentle, would say Say what you most want to say, and have not said.
Brian Doyle is editor of Portland magazine at the University of Portland. He is the author of Leaping: Revelations and Epiphanies. He recently wrote A Shimmer of Something: Lean Stories of Spiritual Substance.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).