Today I’d like to share two poems with you. The first one is entitled “Drive-Thru Epiphany.” It was written by John Hopkins, a faithful reader of this blog. John taught high school English for 33 years. He retired last week. We wish him well!
The other day I was in the drive-thru,
biding my time, six cars ahead of me,
the morning gray rising to pale blue,
the moon webbed in the branches of a tree,
the radio off, my cell phone put away,
just a slow-inching cell of solitude
hoping a disembodied voice will say
it has a potion to perk my attitude.
When—glory!—a lifting, flowing veil
Of birds alit upon that tree’s cold limbs,
Only to re-veil towards the moon! To sail
Into a beauty free of all our sins!
I drove on up, cleansed by this perfect prayer,
A murmuration that dazzled the air!
Have you ever experienced “an epiphany” while doing the most ordinary things: going through a drive-thru… folding the laundry… mowing the lawn… cutting up a green pepper… standing in a check-out line… waiting at a red light… cleaning out a drawer? If so, what was the experience like for you?
In what way was the flight of the birds “a perfect prayer”?
I loved the play on the word “murmur.” Murmur can mean a low, indistinct , continuous sound. It can also mean to complain. Being in a long line of cars at a drive-thru can put us in a complaining mood. But a flock of starlings is called a “murmuration.” Have you ever seen a flock of birds flying as one… making beautiful patterns in the sky… turning on a dime?
The second poem is one of my “fun poems” entitled “Prayer of the Tuckered Out.” It can be found in my book, Just Because:
O God, look down upon me so weary, worn, and stooped,
and hear the humble prayer of one who’s really pooped.
I ask not for good fortune nor for serenity.
Instead one thing I beg for: How ‘bout some energy!
Sometimes I’m not so good, God, I fight, complain, and pout.
I offer no excuses except I’m tuckered out.
My spirit is so willing. It wants to do what’s best.
The problem is my flesh, God,
for all it wants is rest.
This prayer should be much longer,
but what else can I pray when
I’m too dog-tired to stay awake?
Have pity, God. Amen.
Two thoughts about prayer. First, getting sufficient rest is vital not only for our physical and psychological well-being, but also for our spiritual life. Second, one of the best pieces of advice I was given about prayer is this: pray as you can—not as you can’t. Start where you are. This means our prayer can take different forms depending on where we are.
PS: Thank you for your prayers for last week’s retreat in beautiful Chatawa, Mississippi. According to Google, Chatawa has a population of 85! But we had over 60 on retreat so we almost doubled the population! A big thank you to Sister Helen Roper and all the SSND’s who live in Chatawa for your warm hospitality!
The song today is called “Worn” and it’s performed by a contemporary Christian band called “Tenth Avenue North.” Their name comes from an east-west road in Palm Beach County, Florida, where they were originally from.
Any thoughts you’d like to share with us–about the poems and/or the song?