There is a kind of energy in prayer
that lifts a body up and off the grime…
and fervent wishes, too, and fare-thee-wells…
and every one that’s given, each received,
makes light the one whose chariot is air.
So never slight the usefulness of prayer
in healing and escorting one to flight,
as long as the intention is sincere
and not an empty promise or cliché,
as long as there are love and earnest hope—
enough to drown a cynic’s weary doubt—
as long as there’s a flame within the heart
and faith to thwart the candle’s burning out.
Send thoughts and prayers, oh, send this very hour
to those who suffer, those whose spirits fail
a burst of happiness, a gust of cheer,
a surge of certainty of higher things…
and let them be the energy that lifts
a body up and sets it on the breeze;
yes, let them be the wind beneath their wings
that flows unfailingly to joy and peace.
Sunrise, Claude Monet, 1872
Expecting everything or nothing, I wait for life—
the pinch of not quite fitting into the space I’ve
been allotted. I welcome it, this wakening to new
sensations, to borders where just yesterday my
view approached the infinite. Shadows fall more
suddenly, light erupts ferociously, colors deepen,
fading sooner, brightening unannounced. I can
but observe, cannot control or shape or sculpt my
path, which from this aspect seems to narrow till
it vanishes—but no, it widens yet again and I am
given one more mile and more besides, perhaps.
It doesn’t matter. I don’t pray for amplitude but
Surprise me! Let dawn be as I have never seen it,
sunlight storming over the horizon, armies of
radiance bearing clarity and compassion. Give me
eyes to see the unaccustomed. May I scent the
cataracts that fall like needles from tall, stony,
terraced ledges. Turn my longings not toward the
beloved and familiar but to the astounding and
impossible. I would have both play and
contemplation, friendship and solitude, music and
cacophony. Numbness I abjure, preferring pain to
cold indifference, for in the wake of fear and
sadness follow joy and sweet salvation, streaming
on wings of angels, never ceasing in their dance.
The Baptism of Christ (detail), Masolino da Panicale, 1435
Poem for the Twenty-Eighth Day of Lent
Heaven wept so many tears
(the angel told us), there began
a waterfall, and streams appeared
where none had been.
Where none had been, there filled a lake
and angels gathered there to pray
for you; we grieved not for his sake—
He lives today.
Where none had been, now rivers run
of joy and sorrow, side by side:
sweet, healing streams of tears that come
from angels’ eyes.
Throughout the night the angels prayed
with him—Did you know he was near?—
until the first and bravest ray
of dawn appeared.
His soul (the angel said) is young
and curious. Upon his face
shine wisdom and compassion, love
and Heaven’s grace.
In this life or another, you
will know him; trust your intuition.
With him will go angels, too,
as they have done
through eons long passed out of sight
since God in love created him
to be a ray of holy light
where none had been.
In memory of Monty Fey 1936-2011