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

The Light Inside the Darkness

At the confluence of the Delawareand the Little Delaware I fishedwithout result. I cast my lure timeafter time into thetumult. My friend threw flies. Ithrew a Phoebe, untilevening called a halt. We talked about Nothing:Zen and Gorgias.The darkness dwelt. The bats fluttered. Thestars poked thru a . . . . Continue Reading »

The Ghost

The decision not to have a third child,made so soon after the birth of our second,launched us out into a dark abyss. We were two hostages surprised by sudden liberty,two divers strangling on twisted air lines;the death awaiting us was not our own. From that imagined loss appeared a small ghostwho . . . . Continue Reading »

The Way It Goes

That’s the way it goesfor amateurs and pros—the ball goes out of bounds.That’s the way it goes. That’s the way it goes,marching all in rows—someone’s Waterloo.That’s the way it goes. That’s the way it goes,the lily and the rose—their bloom begins to fade.That’s the . . . . Continue Reading »

Christianity and Poetry

Most Christians misunderstand the relationship of poetry to their faith. They consider it an admirable but minor aspect of religious practice—elegant verbal decoration in honor of the divine. They recognize poetry’s place in worship. Congregations need hymns, and the Psalms should be . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted

The Spiritual Canticle of San Juan de la Cruz—Saint John of the Cross—is treasure drawn from the darkness of a Toledo cell. Its popularity, from the sixteenth century to the present, testifies to the enduring appeal of its graceful, erotic mysticism. In a new translation of . . . . Continue Reading »


Cassandra Nelson’s “A Theo­logy of Fiction” (April) is a welcome intervention and advance in an ­ongoing conversation that, as ­Nelson herself notes, I’ve been invested in for some time. Nelson’s attentiveness to the work of Sr. Mariella Gable—and her related readings of a series . . . . Continue Reading »

Filter Tag Articles