Reflections for

Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 26, 2019

Acts 16:9-15; Psalm 67; Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5; John 14:23-29 or John 5:1-9



(John 5:1–9)

These waters, I must trouble for myself,
in an age of the absence of angels, as I plunge,
first of the day to break the lambent surface of the pool,
and commence my daily reaching after miracles,
swimming laps at almost eighty-one.
The miracle I seek these recent years has been defined,
and then refined, by that old friendly temporizer, “yet”;
no longer seeking not-to-die-at-all, just not-to-die-quite-yet,
to win a couple bonus years, in which to pen another poem
or two, to pile a few more chosen words onto this heap
I have—for Oh so long—been working on.
Any healing that might come will clearly have to be
short term. Until, that is, I reach the final turn,
take up my beggar’s bed, and walk.


Praise the one that breaks the darkness

Revelation 21:9–23

I praise the necklace so long
it drapes, loops, and circles
the neck of a grieving dowager
back to her girlhood play.

Yet, I praise the darkening
urine of amber beads and the fears
engendered by bloodstone;

I praise red coral—millions of gifts
piled by sea creatures’ lives.
the hard western sky, I praise
grimy hands, fashioning turquoise
squash blossoms for the necks
of tourists.
             I praise the poor woman’s
subterfuge, Zircon, and the queen’s
throngs of golden chains.

I praise Nancy Pelosi’s pearls,

the sound-taste of chrysoprase,
citrine’s juiciness, opal’s sparks,
amethyst’s rumored temperance.

I praise the jeweler’s loupe,
peeking down from its glass copula
into jasper’s chocolate smear
purloined from Heaven’s walls.


In the beginning

Everything in the world begins with a yes.
Clarice Lispecter

For Bishop Tom

In the beginning there is only Yes,
infinitesimal, infinite, invisible
seed sprouting in the swirling dark,
the slow integration, expanding,
extending, the sudden explosion
into light—baby, blossom, universe,
all beginnings are the same—and Yes
to a world begun before words where
nothing separates this from that, and
Yes to the senses alive before language,
bird song, leaf shadow, skin touching
skin, and Yes to Tom whose injured
brain erases speaking, reading, names,
but through hands cupped upon bent
heads, his unimpeded heart pours forth
with nothing to restrict the flow of Yes
in beginning and Yes in the end.

This is an updated version of the poem that appears in the print edition.


Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 the Consultation on Common Texts. Used by permission.