I sit at night,
Wrapped in a shawl preparing to read.
Warm, I sit in my recliner.
A fire burns in my den’s old stone hearth.
I take up the book.
The table-lamp’s friendly liquid light
illumes metaphors of similes of analogies.
Invasions and wars and mayhem and death;
traveling tents turned into temples,
temples transfixed on tentpegs,
temples topped with spires,
temples crowned with thorns,
thorny words that bring no comfort.
This is my work.
The page is slick; the writing, oily.
The eye slides off,
like a late-night dancer from a lubricated
length of well-polished pole.
This? This is supposed to be holy?
The words are sour; the prose is acrid.
The brain spits up,
like a distempered infant disgorging
a dose of terpin hydrate.
This? This is supposed to be sacred?
The verse is harsh; the stories, dreadful.
The spirit rebels,
like a captive cruel-clawed kitten
being clutched too tightly.
This? This is supposed to be helpful?
She died tonight,
Breathed her last and turned away.
Numb, I sit in the unused chapel.
An electric candle flickers in the darkness.
I pick up a book.
The fluorescent light
callously barging in through the doorway
shines on praises of glories of blessings of forgiveness.
Seas parting, tables spread, honey, milk, wine, bread;
mountaintop holy ground welcoming feet,
feet of the messengers,
feet bathed at Passover,
feet pierced with spikes,
spikenard-like words that succor and soothe.
This is our life.
The words make sense; the stories comfort.
My soul unwinds
like the knotted cord of an old
black telephone desk set.
This. This is the word of the Lord.
(By C. Eric Funston)