I read a poem each Sunday Our pastor calls this Ministry of Verse I try to find a poem not just she but anyone will get A short poem if I can for fear someone like Timmy who isn’t all that into poems to begin with may complain
I try to select some lines that represent what I believe and more or less what the people there believe I have friends too outside the church who cannot believe that I in fact believe say in miracles They ask can you really believe they’re true
exactly Poems cannot be exact I’m thinking how I’ll sound My vanity lives on I don’t read my poems which grow shorter as I grow old I once imagined I must go on and on to get at things I thought I knew but I know more than ever
I know nothing now No my friends I don’t believe exactly in miracles I believe inexactly I see Mary Magdalene just for instance in that garden quite unclearly Still I see her I see Tess as well who’s married to Timmy
and seems confused Well she is confused Dementia has her down Her husband’s there He holds her hand Timmy holds things together I’ve thought at times like anybody I couldn’t hold my own yet I’m alive I hear a bird sing one small massive wonder
So that things contrary to common sense Seem suddenly truth revealed And some unappealing sight Is clearly Imago Dei, devilishly alight As though lit within at core By the very darkness we abhor And symbols of my soul’s best hope are cast As models of betrayal, despair and death; Then, Eve’s fruit tasted and offered to Adam Becomes Mary’s Gift as First Fruit Of a new covenant of pardon And the abandoned Garden Because of Him Becomes the New Jerusalem;
So, let that mind be also in me, The one that takes in my off-stage acts, You know, Those walk-the-walk naked facts, Even my sneaky judas-pacts And transforms them all Into something nothing short of new, Like being born, Like out of any godforsaken Friday Easter morn.
When my mother died early on a spring evening in 1993, the ladies of the garden club and the bridge club gathered around my family to stand sentinel over the old-fashioned ritual of paying calls on the bereaved.