Thursday, February 11, 2021

A Prayer of Gratitude

A couple years ago, while walking to a bridge a few miles from our home--

--the first few lines of the poem below came to me. I spent the next six months or so finishing it. I don't claim to have awesome poetic shakes; never did. Still, I think this effort captures nicely the sense of transcendent praise that, more and more, fills, lifts, and transports me into the light.

This is a very dark time, make no mistake about it. The shadow of moronic, blind, absurd fascism rises once more over the world, here in America particularly. Ignorance and anti-intellectualism rage. Propaganda and fake news rule social media and, indeed, even mainstream sources. Science and reason are under attack--from both the left and the right. The world sags and withers against the weight of our greed, consumption, and indifference.

I've maintained for many years now that the only way the human species will make it to the twenty-second century is through a genuine spiritual revolution. It is very tempting to believe, given the constant crap tsunami of awful news that confronts us each and every day, that we are further from that revolution than ever. But it is true, so true: it is always darkest just before dawn.

And so I offer praise and thanks. I get up each morning and I do the work I was put on Earth to do by the Creator that gave me this life. I sit at this computer and thrust both middle fingers into the air in defiance every morning, and I soldier on. It doesn't matter if I remain forever obscure and unknown. What matters is that I love that creative spark in me with everything I have, for it is a direct connection to the holy and numinous.


Dear Lord,

Thank you for the tremble and weave,
For osprey tracing high the pine-scented air,
For silver sheets of rainfall fair;
Where orange rays of draining daylight conceive

These verdant hills and tumbling creeks which sound
As through fluffs of cotton,
Through which this lonesome road winds forgotten;
Quiet walks remembered, and remembered I was found.

Thank you for this morning scene,
And fingers of fog lacing between,
For sudden bursts of golden finches, here now and then unseen;
For the life of my spirit which refutes the mean.

I want to thank you for my pounding heart
And the urge to strengthen it,
For the courage to fight my sloth and recommit
To living this life not apart

From the grace of your love,
The warmth of which
These seconds enrich
And rain down from above.

Thank you, dear Lord,

For these sterling moments of peace
Amidst the cackle of the insane,
Their corrupting, deafening grain;
These pauses that cease

The unremitting insults of the day
Carried beyond the pale,
Varied but dull, and brittle like shale;
Each step as it may

A cry, a supplication all its own,
Offered with and over the swirl and roar so pure;
The susurration, the crossroad, the cure
Here at last! At last be shown

The glory be, unsayable!
Touching! Lifting!
Gleaming! Sifting
These certain steps between uncertain novations prayable!

Thank you for the courage of my convictions
In this deluded and dangerous age;
For the friendship of the insistent Sage
And her reassuring valediction:

It isn't so bad, she says—
This time, this space,
This darkness so many embrace.
They live in pieces,

But the glory of God is one.
Truth cannot forever be denied,
And those who lied
The commonwealth will someday shun.

Thank you, Lord,
For the constant urge to create,
For the insatiable desire to mate
The contradictions. Lo the sword

Proclaims its own art,
Deeper than desire, more intense than pain,
The numbness against which I refrain
Any measure of victory; in this I impart

The whole of my soul.
Never to death or dust
Shall it give; nor to rust
And the unworthy jewels it stole.

So to you, dear Lord, I offer this,
What meager and gritty quarry
Is mine to give; the words in the story
So imperfect, so imprecise, but sure as a kiss.

They're mine but also not:
They're yours, truly, like this day, this moment, only mine by gift.
Thus is my wish to uplift,
But back to you, in the end, goes the entire lot.

In them and by them I have soared,
Through them and with them my heart has at last come alive.
So long afraid, so long merely to survive ...
Alive again, and so it sings: Thank you, dear Lord.