POEMS

by Susan Delaney Spear

"On Earth..."
first appeared in
Commonwheel

"On Earth..."

Blessed be the lettuce pickers

the wards and waifs

the overweight and underfed

the unnamed

the average

the slandered

 

Blessed be the misunderstood

the latch key kids

the shy

the shunned, the uncool

the stone cold sober

the street sweepers

 

Blessed be the night shift

the unfriended

those who try

the drivers and delivery boys

the widows

the utterly forgiving

 

Blessed be the utterly forgiven

the bussers

the barren

the gunned down

the onlys and the singles

those who try again

Blessed be the addicts

the true believers

the doubters

the kind

the blue-sky dreamers

the down and outers

 

Blessed be the last leaf on the tree

the parched and hollow

the seed sowers

the ardent seekers

those in second place

the commuters on the city bus

 

Blessed be the here and now

Blessed be the there and then

Your kingdom come, O Lord. When?

"Remains"

In our garage, your hockey skates still dangle.

Green and yellow parakeets still call

from your painting on my office wall,

bright birds slowly dimming on a tangle

of brown, twigless branches. A singing bowl,

a book of Dylan's lyrics, a leather journal

whose stiffening leaves I turn to read the kernels

of tunes (the jigsaw pieces of your soul),

the Warwick bass you paid for by yourself,

three joints you rolled that I will never smoke,

a New Year's gift you gave me as a joke,

and you- now dust and ash--rest on my shelf.

Watercolors fade. Ashes scatter,

But love remains-firm, unchanging matter.

"Remains"
first published in
 Modern Age

"Beyond All Bearing"
first appeared in
Autumn Sky Poetry Daily

"Beyond All Bearing"

In winter, when pines weary,            

When aligned limbs quiver with longing,

And the ground moans under gravity’s weight,

It’s then, through the northern night 

That concentric silver circles radiate

Like wind-borne waves racing shoreward,

Beautiful beyond all bearing.

            Swifter still---

God speeds across the cosmos

Earthward, arms open wide.

"Pieta"

Your gown falls fold on fold, Mary, full

of shadows softening your odd proportions.

 

You sit all wrong, holding Jesus’ body,

his large frame draped across your too-wide lap.

 

Your over-sized right hand supports his shoulder.

You turn your left hand upward, open, empty.

 

On the rocks of Golgotha you cradle

his figure—still, and warm. You do not cry.

    

You do not rage. Softly, you gaze downward,

your marble visage youthful and untroubled.

              

Tears blur my vision. Your face, forever calm,

bobs up and down. Anger burns my throat.

 

Or grief. When I faced my son’s bent, cold frame,

I hurled thunder at the heavens.

 

Mother of God, wail. Grieve the death      

of this, your son, as I have for mine.

 

Or, give me peace, your sacred mystery.

Give me grace. Let it be unto me.

"Pieta"
first published in
First Things

"Invocation of
Ordinary Time"
first appeared in
The Anglican Theological Review

"Invocation in Ordinary Time"

 

Sing, Muse,

in common time

 

on the upbeat

of the sun

 

Cry, this morning’s

mourning dove

 

Chant, mossy

onyx rocks

 

Seek, osprey,

swoop and prey

 

Fling, red-

winged blackbird,

 

Melodies

between the green

 

Squeak, smooth

pinewood floors

 

Crash, waves,

erase my traces

 

Croak, frogs

an evensong

 

Sink, ancient

orange one

 

into the blue,

blackening sea

 

Echo, my soul’s

ceaseless grief


Come, Holy

Ghost, come

 

in common places

Prove to me

 

your extraord-

inary graces.