Outside the window, seeds laid on the ledge, A sick dove staggered, pecked, staggered again, And while I watched, it toppled off the edge And lay struggling, then feebly pecked again. I took some water in a small can lid and set it by its unprotesting bill, I built a barrier so it was hid From predators seeking an easy kill. Night came and dawn, and with the morning light I saw the vanity of what I’d done; The dove was there, eyes rigor mortis tight, Flecked feathers golden in the morning sun. I took some comfort in an ancient word, “God knows when sparrows fall,” or any bird.
Chisme, oh that succulent dish sold and served with a side of snide words wrapped in caring concern for your health. People urge you to unpackage your heart. They slop it, boiled or roasted, on a plate of I-told-you-so’s, sumptuous and steaming. They plunge their teeth into chile picante comments, those juicy and spicy words. They wound and scrape, sticking to forks, pitching tongues. People munch their meal, this food. You, too, relish it. Each morsel you savor. Until the flavor floats and reaches your stomach. You chew and wonder why the special of the day tastes so familiar.
Though it has all the marks of an independent film—a film-school screenplay and production difficulties—Saved! is blessed with an intelligent script and a first-rate ensemble of actors whose characters—though slightly overdrawn—engage Christian faith in believable ways.
Not that you couldn’t reach Him if you tried (maybe you couldn’t) but that you no longer try. Your last real prayer? In a plane, beseeching Him, don’t let me die. How actual He seems at 30 thousand feet, how passionately you love Him in your hope for solid ground. Not unlike that day you first felt Him ripping through your heart, you driving fast, believing you’d foiled gravity, dendrites of rain flowing up your windshield, the sting of joy like spearmint in your mouth, and now how improbable He seems. That Whoever made the stars would even notice. You! A word in His mouth? And yet you miss Him. If it could be true! You think of trying to reach Him, tell Him you’ve reconsidered.
Here’s my question. What if there was a poem That didn’t know what it was about until it got To the end of itself? So that the poet’s job isn’t To play with imagery and cadence and metrical Toys in order to make a point, but rather to just Keep going in order to find out that the poem is About how hard it is to watch your kids get hurt By things they can’t manage and you cannot fix. If I had been the boss of this poem I would have Made it so they can manage things, or I could be The quiet fixer I always wanted to be as a father; But that’s not what the poem wanted to be about, It turns out. This poem is just like your daughter: No one knows what’s going to happen, and there Will be pain, and you can’t fix everything, and it Hurts to watch, and you are terrified even as you Try to stay calm and cool and pretend to manage. Some poems you can leave when they thrash too Much but kids are not those sorts of poems. They Have to keep writing themselves, and it turns out You are not allowed to edit. You’re not in charge At all—a major bummer. I guess there’s a lesson Here about literature, about how you have to sing Without knowing the score . . . something like that. All you can do is sing wildly and hope it’ll finish So joyous and refreshing that you gape with awe.
Philosopher Michael Ruse is an ardent evolutionist and unbeliever, but he often comes to the defense of believers who are under fire from militant atheists like Richard Dawkins. Ruse says his sympathetic stance toward religion is partly due to his Quaker upbringing. “I grew up surrounded by gentle, loving (and very intelligent) Christians. I never forget that,” said Ruse. He also objects to what he regards as bad atheist arguments. Evolution explains the existence of religion as an adaptive mechanism, but that doesn’t necessarily explain it away. “It is as plausible that my love of Mozart’s operas is a byproduct of adaptation, but it doesn’t make them any the less beautiful and meaningful,” Ruse said (New York Times interview, July 8).