I have oared and grieved, grieved and oared, treading a religion of fear. A frayed nerve. A train wreck tied to the train of an old idea. Now, Lord, reeling in violent times, I drag these tidal griefs to this gate. I am tired. Deliver me, whatever you are. Help me, you who are never near, hold what I love and grieve, reveal this green evening, myself, rain, drone, evil, greed, as temporary. Granted then gone. Let me rail, revolt, edge out, glove to the grate. I am done waiting like some invalid begging in the nave. Help me divine myself, beside me no Virgil urging me to shift gear, change lane, sing my dirge for the rent, torn world, and love your silence without veering into rage.
Copyright © 2018 by Donna Masini. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 5, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
“My sister was dead. During her illness I had prayed, or, rather, ricocheted from bargaining to demanding, to a kind of continual visceral begging. After her death, grieving, in despair, I found the world, its violence and destruction, unbearable. I was teaching Hopkins and Herbert. I was trying to learn how to drive. Driving and prayer seemed equally inscrutable. I paid lip service (good words for prayer) to The Cloud of Unknowing but I was lost. ‘Try to write a prayer,’ a friend said.”