Saying Grace

He said Grace over the meal,
mouthing words that were meant
to bring divine blessing,
to sanctify the mundane
act of eating and make the partakers
of food participants in the Holy.

We humans have probably
always done this: take typical
everyday activities and try
our best to infuse them with
heavenly purpose, hoping to make
our lives count for something beyond
this life, somehow coaxing glory
into our existence,  

an otherworldly manifestation,
an angel’s breath. 

Isn’t it’s just as likely
we bring our own meaning
in the very act of living?
Eat, drink, share,
love, marvel—
what more is there to add?

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything, even longer since posting anything. It’s tough coming back from a long break–I feel like an outsider to my own thoughts, like I’m intruding where I’m no longer welcome. I’ve got to get past this. So anyway–this was written as a response to a poetry prompt for dVerse.

At the Crossroads Inn

Late night in a strange town.
What kind of town don’t sell booze
at the corner store?
Can’t get my mind off the
cold tapping of a limb
on the dirty window

and wondering if we ever grow out
of this incessant application
of the same fucking solutions
to the same fucking problems,
never solving anything, never realizing
the solutions are part of the problem.

Maybe even The Problem. I don’t know.
What do I know? I’m no deep thinker.

Not putting up with it for four more nights—
tomorrow I’m calling in a request
to have that damn limb cut off.

The book in the drawer
says to come unto me,
all ye that labour and are heavy
laden. Been told that all my life,
and tried it for most of it.
That promised rest don’t never come.
Don’t never come.

Starting to reckon there’s no one out there,
no one able to give rest, anyway.

Yellow light from the roadside
glimmers through window grime.
It’s not a sign of anything.
Nothing’s a sign of anything.

Maurice Manning: A Contemplation of the Celestial World

(Image from The Poetry Foundation)

A Contemplation of the Celestial World
Whoever had the thought to render bear fat
and burn it in a lamp was touched a bit,
or bored, or left alone to ponder light
too long in some dank cabin: bear fat pops
and stinks and brings no cheer to our condition.
My brother Squire would burn such lamps to read
the Scriptures: eyelids smudged, his head immersed
in smoke; his Bible, like a gutted beast,
spread open to Leviticus; his lips:
for prayer. Then I would go outside to muse
upon the many things which need no light,
the chiefest being tears and copulation,
then others, like remembering glad days
or moments which occur without regard
for stars or lamps—my thought: what matters most
is borne of darkness then makes its own pure light.

              –Maurice Manning