A Gate

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.

About this Poem

“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.”

—Donna Masini