First Things RSS Feed - Wilmer Mills
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Fri, 01 Feb 2013 00:00:00 -0500 For several days Ive watched a robin beat
Herself repeatedly against a window.
An oracle. A bird-sign that augurers
It breaks my heart to see
Her wanting some illusion in the glass
As much as I want things I cannot have:
Assurance that my children never suffer;
An ordinary life where things make sense.
We hurl ourselves at hope. We try to read
The symboled wonders signaled in the world,
But often its the obvious we miss:
A billboard, a street sign.
On that college tour,
The basement entrance warned me, Mind Your Head!
Years later, the hiking trail said, Watch Your Step!
The demolition placard said, Stand Clear!
And now a city crosswalk sign reminds me
To Walk With Light!
Sun, 01 Jan 2012 00:00:00 -0500 It happened in a country like Tibet,
My dream: Id climbed a mountain pass and found
Where locals wrote their slips of prayer and let
Them rot between the rocks and on the ground.
Asleep, not feeling any reverence,
I picked one out and saw to my surprise
That it had been addressed to me. Its sense
Was mystical; it said, With open eyes,
Youll never see the proof that God exists,
Only the evidence: The fire, the ice,
The snowballs melting in your frozen fists.
Shutting my eyes in dream, I woke up twice
And, groping for the prayer, I couldnt find it,
could I remember who had signed it.
Wed, 01 Dec 2010 00:00:00 -0500 A homeless woman sleeps outside the door.
She smells of urine so the customers
Who eat brioche and talk about the poor
Step wide of her in winter and in summer.
But she has noticed them in their retreat
Of tea and café latte ambiance.
Oh, yes, she sees their pious nonchalance.
They give her quarters on the holidays
And she would give them stories with her gaze:
A childhood served on white enamel plates;
A fathers drunk abuse; teen runaway;
The search for something”love, or merely dates”;
A candy-wrapper life in lingerie.
But eye contact is precious on the street.
She takes their pocket change and falls asleep.
And Im no better in my arrogance
And its complacent little cubicle.
If I could be like Jesus, just for once,
Id wake her up and make her beautiful.