Great Things Have Happened

At Mass last Sunday, Dennis Dillon, SJ, ended his homily with this poem by Alden Nowland.   It’s titled “Great Things Have Happened.”

We were talking about the great things

that have happened in our lifetimes;

and I said, “Oh, I suppose the moon landing

was the greatest thing that has happened

in my time.” But, of course, we were all lying.

The truth is the moon landing didn’t mean

one-tenth as much to me as one night in 1963

when we lived in a three-room flat in what once had been

the mansion of some Victorian merchant prince

(our kitchen had been a clothes closet, I’m sure),

on a street where by now nobody lived

who could afford to live anywhere else.

That night, the three of us, Claudine, Johnnie and me,

woke up at half-past four in the morning

and ate cinnamon toast together.

“Is that all?” I hear somebody ask.

Read the rest of the poem here.

Image by trawin under a Creative Commons license.


  1. Yes, fine sentiments. And I agree. Additionally, I still remember the awe, the majesty, of our first moon landing.

  2. What a great state of mind to be in, “half-tipsy with the wonder
    of being alive, and wholly enveloped in love.” I believe that this is the way God is calling us to live every day as we accept God’s unconditional love for each of us. Thanks for this poem.

  3. Ah to live in an antique mansion and imagine what went on then, gone footsteps that echo across the decades and strains of voices past that mingle yet with the winds of time. Yes. That is love. And it is 4:30 in my morning too.


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