by Susan Delaney Spear
first appeared in Commonwheel
Blessed be the lettuce pickers
the wards and waifs
the overweight and underfed
Blessed be the misunderstood
the latch key kids
the shunned, the uncool
the stone cold sober
the street sweepers
Blessed be the night shift
those who try
the drivers and delivery boys
the utterly forgiving
Blessed be the utterly forgiven
the gunned down
the onlys and the singles
those who try again
Blessed be the addicts
the true believers
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?
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.
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.
God speeds across the cosmos
Earthward, arms open wide.
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.
first published in First Things
first appeared in The Anglican Theological Review
"Invocation in Ordinary Time"
in common time
on the upbeat
of the sun
Cry, this morning’s
swoop and prey
between the green
erase my traces
into the blue,
Echo, my soul’s
in common places
Prove to me