John O’Donohue on Noticing

I hadn’t known about the priest-poet John O’Donohue until I read this post by Michelle Francl-Donnay.  The poem “A Blessing for One Who is Exhausted” might have been inspired by the Examen. Take refuge in your senses, open up To all the small miracles you rushed through. Become inclined to watch the way of rain When it falls slow and free. Imitate the habit of twilight, Taking time to open the well of color That […]

i thank you God

e.e. cummings’ poem “i thank You God for most this amazing day” is a lyric of thanksgiving. Read it here. Here it is read by Cummings himself. (Click here if you are getting this post by e-mail.)

The Narrow Door

I love the narrow door— You know, the one at the school Where parents and children cram in At the beginning of the day at Saint Paul, Rushing to beat the bell.   They are happy or tired or stressed, But always will smile and thank you For holding the door open So they can rush by before the classes and go up to their rooms.   Elsewhere the doors are Wide and Efficient and […]

Late Ripeness

Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004), a Polish Catholic, wrote some of the greatest religious poetry of our time.  This poem, called “Late Ripeness,” is one of my favorites. Not soon, as late as the approach of my ninetieth year, I felt a door opening in me and I entered the clarity of early morning. One after another my former lives were departing, like ships, together with their sorrow. And the countries, cities, gardens, the bays of seas […]

Daniel Berrigan at 90

Daniel Berrigan, SJ, celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday.  We older folk remember him as a charismatic anti-war activist in the 60s and 70s.  He was a powerful advocate for non-violence and social justice for many years. He is also a poet of some renown.  Here is one of his lyrics. Miracles Were I God almighty, I would ordain, rain fall lightly where old men trod, no death in childbirth, neither infant nor mother, ditches firm […]


Every day I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight, that leaves me like a needle in the haystack of light. –Mary Oliver Read the rest of this poem here.

Good Friday, 1613, Riding Westward

From the poem of that name by John Donne: Could I behold those hands, which span the poles And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes? Could I behold that endless height, which is Zenith to us and our antipodes, Humbled below us ? or that blood, which is The seat of all our soul’s, if not of His, Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn By God for His […]

The Musician

A poem for Good Friday from “The Musician” So it must have been on Calvary In the fiercer light of the thorns’ halo: The men standing by and that one figure, The hands bleeding, the mind bruised but calm, Making such music as lives still. And no one daring to interrupt Because it was himself that he played And closer than all of them the God listened. –R.S. Thomas

Annunciations All the Time

My wife disturbed my Advent bliss a couple of days ago when she showed me a poem. I had been sailing along smoothly, humming “Come O Come Emmanuel,” lighting the Advent wreath, and reading Isaiah’s prophecies. Then Susan handed me “Annunciation” by Denise Levertov. These are the lines that troubled my world. Aren’t there annunciations of one sort or another in most lives?                               Some unwillingly undertake great destinies, enact them in sullen pride, uncomprehending.                     More […]

Prayer on the Run

I can pray as I bake this pie peeling the apples rolling the dough sprinkling the sugar making it right. This is my work of love, Lord. Bless the ones who will partake who will taste and be glad. Bless them, and bless me, too. I can pray as I search the stores which scarf or book or teacup says her name? bears her colors? Will it help her remember Grandma or have a little […]

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