Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

I invoke the air in rage, 

am like a cancer in a cage—

only myself to burn, to burn; 

mere glass and sun on an empty stage.

Pick and spade, curse and yearn—

agatefulls are struck and turned, 

one by one and year by year, 

until the hollow has been earned.

Now the reckoning is near, 

now the starlings rise in fear; 

a shadow sweeps across the page 

and I was music, talking here.

Dear Reader,

We launched the First Things 2023 Year-End Campaign to keep articles like the one you just read free of charge to everyone.

Measured in dollars and cents, this doesn't make sense. But consider who is able to read First Things: pastors and priests, college students and professors, young professionals and families. Last year, we had more than three million unique readers on

Informing and inspiring these people is why First Things doesn't only think in terms of dollars and cents. And it's why we urgently need your year-end support.

Will you give today?

Make My Gift