91st Letter to a Poet

Sun shines kindly on Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Sixty-five degrees. You'd think it was autumn.
A hundred hours until my birthday, the one

that would've marked 30 years of legal drinking.
I read the letter where Teilhard de Chardin
urges patient trust in the slow work of God.

The Jesuit paleontologist strove to marry
the discoveries of science and the formulae
of faith. His books are famously difficult.

(And need it be said? I haven't read them!)
But yes, to be comfortable with the liminal,
the in-between time of not knowing what.


So, Tuesday morning, as if it were

the most natural thing in the world
for a cradle Catholic who until recently
had been a strident ecclesial partisan,
I asked Jennifer, an Episcopal priest,

if she'd consent to hear my confession.
She put her hand to her heart, so gently
(butterfly alighting on the bright
landing-pad of a lavish-petalled flower)
and smiled, and said, "Yes, Tom, I'd be honoured."

Experts in Catholic canon law might object.
They can all go sit on a cactus.
All my drive-through Saturday shrivings
in RC precincts have not helped me at all
to jettison self-focus, fear, despair.

I need to let my sister, my even-Christian,
into the guarded sorrows of my soul.
I will ask the Christ in Jennifer to bless me,
will tell my tale of woe and soul-blight,
surrender my mean doubts, my petty fears,

and trust in the embodiment of Grace.


Poetry by Thomas D The PoetBay support member heart!
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Written on 2020-06-15 at 09:11

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Liam The PoetBay support member heart!
I found this piece compulsive reading, again and again.
Born into an RC family and taught from the age of 4 to 17 by the Jesuits, you could say I have been indoctrinated.
But the loss of my father and then my 17yo brother within 4 years of each other made me deeply question my faith. I absorbed myself in the study of the Sciences and found my solace there. I also discovered that unburdening our guilt(?) is in itself the salvation we seek.
Sorry, a bit of a long-winded comment, but it shows the effect your words had on my thoughts.
Thank you for sharing,