These Things A Prayer

As a child, I had a patron saint,

St. Theresa of Lisieux, the Little Flower.

The saint of small things:

a washed dish, raked leaves,

clothes hung on the line,

these things a prayer.

Sometimes I remember

that my life is like all others,

the past gone, the present here,

the future, what future?

Sometimes I remember

to look for the present

under the pepper tree.

There I find a green prayer

in the rustle of leaves,

a brown one, as silent bugs

burrow in dry earth,

or white, like the cat,

stretched warm in the sun,

still, on the stone wall.


~~ Tere Sievers ~~


Getting There

You take a final step and, look, suddenly
You’re there. You’ve arrived
At the one place all your drudgery was aimed for:
This common ground
Where you stretch out, pressing your cheek to sandstone.
What did you want
To be? You’ll remember soon. You feel like tinder
Under a burning glass,
A luminous point of change. The sky is pulsing
Against the cracked horizon,
Holding it firm till the arrival of stars
In time with your heartbeats.
Like wind etching rock, you’ve made a lasting impression
On the self you were
By having come all this way through all this welter
Under your own power,
Though your traces on a map would make an unpromising
Meandering lifeline.
What have you learned so far? You’ll find out later,
Telling it haltingly
Like a dream, that lost traveler’s dream
Under the last hill
Where through the night you’ll take your time out of mind
To unburden yourself
Of elements along elementary paths
By the break of morning.
You’ve earned this worn-down, hard, incredible sight
Called Here and Now.
Now, what you make of it means everything,
Means starting over:
The life in your hands is neither here nor there
But getting there,
So you’re standing again and breathing, beginning another
Journey without regret
Forever, being your own unpeaceable kingdom,
The end of endings.
~~ David Wagoner ~~

To Look At Any Thing

To look at any thing,
If you would know that thing,
You must look at it long:
To look at this green and say,
“I have seen spring in these Woods,”
Will not do – you must
Be the thing you see:
You must be the dark snakes of
Stems and ferny plumes of leaves,
You must enter in
To the small silences between
The leaves,
You must take your time
And touch the very peace
They issue from.
~~ John Moffitt ~~