Domestic Incident

From the November 2015 Print Edition

I hear my neighbor smashing his guitar against the wall. He’s done it once before when in a rage. This time he can’t afford to get another. They’re expensive things. And yet he loved that wooden box with strings more than his wife. (Their daughters sit afraid and wordless under his . . . . Continue Reading »

With the Bath Water

From the February 2015 Print Edition

When data started to accumulate,
we didn’t think the end would be so tragic.
Facts were such fun, we could eliminate
non-facts. And so we threw away the magic,
the charms, the spells, the powers that removed
all obstacles, the sacred images
that won our wars, brought lover to beloved.
Then we threw out the demigods, the muse,
the spirits in the fountains, planets, trees,
followed by symbols, sacraments—what use
did modern myth-free mortals have for these?
Our reason set no limit to our pride.
Did we kill God, or was it suicide? Continue Reading »

I Come to the Garden

From the April 2012 Print Edition

I can name so few flowers. This is why I’m not a better poet. Shakespeare knew oxlip and gillyvor and eglantine, while I, beyond camellia, violet, rose, and lily, am reduced to saying, “There, those crinkly yellow things!” Out on a walk with mad John Clare, I’d learn a dozen . . . . Continue Reading »

St. Clare of Assisi

From the March 2012 Print Edition

Her parents tired of locking her up before she tired of running away. Love mocks the locksmith, and love drove her on till the convent walls closed around her strong as a castle, and poverty made her as safe as wealth makes a queen. Francis the merchant’s son should have died in the streets of . . . . Continue Reading »

Dear Juan de la Cruz

From the March 2011 Print Edition

I gave my class your “dark night” poem to read, not telling them who wrote it. They were quick to name adultery as the midnight deed the female speaker runs to, in a thick burqa of darkness. And the poor thing gets her just deserts, being wounded in the neck by a vampire lover. My best . . . . Continue Reading »

Bavarian Baroque

From the December 2009 Print Edition

At first it’s like a painted teacup inverted, this gold-scalloped dome containing an apotheosis of saints triumphant heading home to God”a Beatific Vision made relevant to mortal eyes Then we discover in each cornice angels, grotesque in shape and size, in imminent danger of descending . . . . Continue Reading »

A Complaint of the Times

From the October 2007 Print Edition

So much regulation and so few lives saved, So much loud music and so little melody, So many doctorates and none wiser made, Such license in the name of liberty, So much compassion preached, so little shown, Since the world's beginning there was never known. So much production of so many shoddy . . . . Continue Reading »