empty church

Prayer for Today 9/7/19

What does it mean to pray
in a world with no gods
where the tabernacle is empty except
for a few lowly pieces of bread?

How does one catch aflame
with an unmoving spirit --
dead air in the sweltering end
of a disappointing summer?

Shall I sing the praises of
commerce and weekends
of laborers and bosses
and punch clocks and taxes?

What is this progress,
this hope that fuels
the furnace of industry
with coal and bones?

Toward what heaven do we build
our precarious towers while below
the children of the builders
eat dust and play with bricks?

Dear friends,

I’m finally typing up some of the poems and things I’ve written over the past few months. Poems tend to let me know when they’re ready to see the world, and this one just piped up extra loudly, so I think this is where we start.

Although I’m not a religious person in any traditional sense, for me, prayers and poetry come from the same place, which is why you’ll see a bunch of poems titled “Prayer for Today.” I’ve been reading a bit of Rilke’s Book of Hours again (this time with a second translation on hand for fun little compare/contrast studies) because if you’ve got the impulse to pray, it’s worthwhile to try and do it well.

Years ago, when I was not very happy with certain aspects of my life, I developed the habit of writing prayers to get me through the day. My heart was desperately longing for some hope, something to look forward to in life … I was feeling pretty bad about my place in the world for some time. So I would write these little prayers like: Today, I need support. I need someone to hear me. I need a break. Please. Get me through this. Thank you. I probably learned that from reading Anne Lamott. Those evolved into these poems that I still write occasionally. They are the questions and the struggles that I bring to God, however you want to conceptualize Them. I don’t solve issues in these poems, but I try to articulate my questions well and hope to stir some thought in the divine consciousness expressed in humanity, that is, you.