Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Poetry

Cold comfort

The way Herod liked to listen to John the Baptist,
summoning him from his cell for private chats
but could make no sense of what he said; the way
Festus kept the apostle Paul locked up for two years
because he enjoyed hearing him talk, although his words
made him afraid; the way the German guards, terrified
by night bombings, sought out Pastor Bonhoeffer,
even though he was, by his own account, a provider
of cold comfort, writing to a friend, “I can listen all right,
but hardly ever find anything to say. Yet perhaps the way
one asks about some things and is silent about others
helps suggest what really matters”—did not stop
the sharp rap on the prison door or the words “get ready
to come with us” as if for one more quiet conversation
about what really matters.
Film

The Soloist

The Soloist is a rarity—a triumph-of-the-spirit movie in which the hero's triumph is ambiguous. It's a movie about accepting small successes and living within your limits.
Poetry

To the gleaners

You do not need me to bless you
for the shorn field easily gives up its treasure
into your baskets. Your quick fingers
conjure food out of early morning mist,
and in this light even the dumpster
gives up its chipped vase, its clawfoot end table.
The sidewalk gives up its clear brown bottle.
You do not need me to bless you
but I will anyway wish you clear sight
into the world’s crevices and corners.
Harvest the chives flowering under the workbench.
Harvest the copper tubing looped in the scrap pile,
the chrome fendered bicycle at the sidewalk sale.
Clamp the broken slats of the chair together.
Restring the guitar. And let your metal detectors
whine always with joy. May you find all you seek,
because at the end of the story
the woman knots up her apron
heavy with grain, then steals up to the sleeping body
of the man who does not yet love her.
And when she lies down next to him
she will gather even the scent of his sleep—
the smell of all future harvests, ripening.
Poetry

Prayer

I dream of grace. The tongue that might have praised,
that might have sung forgiveness equal to
the sum of all the mercy God shot through
Creation when his stone-sealed Son blazed

awake, the light to light betrayal’s dark
design, is swollen black in the hole that was
a mouth; my brother, Judas, hanged the ark
of his redemption. Still, I dream of grace.

I dream I take him from his tree, and lift
him up to life. Should one betrayal cost
a soul—eternity demand such thrift
of grace the lost remain forever lost—

how then my three denials be forgiven?
Christ, Savior, buy your chosen back for Eden.