In Kraków

This is a lovely and startling poem by Czeslaw Milosz, one of the great poets of the 20th century.  It’s about the eucharist–and other things. In Kraków On the border of this world and the beyond, in Kraków. Tap-tap on the foot-worn flagstones of churches, Generation after generation.  Here I came to understand Something of the habits of my brothers and sisters. The nakedness of a woman meets the nakedness of a man And completes […]

Franz Wright’s Gratitude

Here is a deeply moving poem of gratitude by Franz Wright, a poet who draws on his work with addicts and the mentally ill. One Heart It is late afternoon and I have just returned from the longer version of my walk nobody knows about. For the first time in nearly a month, and everything changed. It is the end of March, once more I have lived. This morning a young woman described what it’s […]

Gratitude

I ran across this poem by Denise Levertov recently while I was doing some writing about Ignatius Loyola’s view of gratitude. It may be July, but it’s pleasant to think about snow.   Praise Wet Snow   Praise wet snow            falling early. Praise the shadow            my neighbor’s chimney casts on the tile roof even this gray October day that should, they say, have been golden.                       Praise the invisible sun burning beyond […]

Proper Sowing

Choruses from the Rock T.S. Eliot O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying! The endless cycle of idea and action, Endless invention, endless experiment, Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness; Knowledge of speech, but not of silence; Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word. All our knowledge brings us nearer to death, But nearness to death no nearer to God. Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where […]

The Grand Miracle

by Mary Karr Jesus wound up with his body nailed to a tree— a torment he practically begged for, or at least did nothing to stop. Pilate watched the crowd go thumbs down and weary, signed the order. So centurions laid Jesus flat on a long beam, arms run along the crosspiece. Read the rest here.

Thanksgiving

i thank You God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes (i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth day of life and love and wings:and of the gay great happening illimitably earth) how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any-lifted from the […]

Mary Karr’s Conversion

The poet Mary Karr has just published a new book, Lit, in which she talks about her conversion to Catholicism as well her struggle with alcoholism.  She mentions in a recent interview that the Spiritual Exercises were an important part of her spiritual awakening. That’s all the excuse I need to mention Karr here, because she is one of my favorite poets.  Here’s a sample: Disgraceland Before my first communion, I clung to doubt          as […]

To Live in the Mercy of God

by Denise Levertov To lie back under the tallest oldest trees. How far the stems rise, rise before ribs of shelter open! To live in the mercy of God. The complete sentence too adequate, has no give. Awe, not comfort. Stone, elbows of stony wood beneath lenient moss bed. Read the whole poem here.

Billy Collins

I wasn’t surprised to find out that the poet Billy Collins is a Jesuit alum (Holy Cross ’63).  There’s a distinctly Ignatian tone in this quote: “I feel now that my sense of the spiritual is directly connected to my sense of wonder, my ability to be amazed by the fact of my existence in all its vital impermanence and by the spectacular environment I wake up to every morning. I am guessing that this […]

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