It’s not a secret, as if between God and me,
the word having poked its “gladness” face
up from the compost of my days remaining,
and who wouldn’t burst-laugh seeing
such a face, and repeat, not the secret,
but the sacred word, eyes closed,
being still as silence, 4:00 a.m.,
Lucy-bug vigilant on the study bed,
close at hand, shepherd to wake me
(not asleep) if God really comes this time,
twenty minutes centered in the waiting prayer,
that thin silence of the honey locust tree flowers
wilting, dropping into the grass, that shining
welcome of Mary Oliver’s poem.
Lucy knows “Be still” can be too inviting,
so she will bark me back to words,
my profession, both testimony and
what I have learned to shape
in this notebook, what I hope
to understand as God’s inspiring breath,
Holy Spirit, “Welcome,” if not today
(thanks to Lucy), then . . .
*Notes and Sources:
For Ken Roberts, my friend of over forty years.
“But keep in mind that God’s first language is silence.” Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart, Bloomsbury Continuum, 2006, p. 48.
“Welcome / shines in the grass.” Mary Oliver, “Honey Locust,” New and Selected Poems, Volume Two, Beacon Press, 2005, p. 18.
“the gladness that says, without any words, everything.” Mary Oliver, “Everything,” New and Selected Poems, Volume Two, Beacon Press, 2005, p. 4.