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


Not fit enough to wander the wild woods or separate my wouldn’ts from my shoulds, what can I say? Not spry enough to scamper on a deck or fend a tall sloop from a leeward wreck, I steer my way. No longer lean or lithe enough to climb a groaning glacier out in Mountain Time, here I shall stay. So: . . . . Continue Reading »

Wild Grace

To some, writing and reading poetry amidst the ruthless violence in the Middle East, the trials of the Church at home, and the general anxiety of our time, may seem cutely whimsical at best, and shamefully detached from reality at worst. But, I maintain, it can be quite the opposite. Continue Reading »

Slow Green

The elements were stark: a winter wall,snow, ice, snapped wrist. Through the breakI could just glimpse the color of the bone.But cold and white, the January crust,weren’t the whole story. Seasons turn,bones knit, a secret stirs beneath the snow. . . . . Continue Reading »

Cancer Patient

Though ill with cancer, I am here outdoors To walk slow steps and feel the warmth of spring. By chance, a nearby hermit thrush outpours His ecstasy to live, to fly, to sing, And daffodils hurl yellow at the sky As if they too would venerate this day. . . . . Continue Reading »

Station VI of the Cross

VI. Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus He stopped a moment, when her eyesMet his and grieved to recognize The mark of suffering in his face. With a slow hand, she drew her veil,Revealed herself, ashamed and pale, As if awaiting his embrace. . . . . Continue Reading »

Late Planting Il.

Two hundred miles I sojourned yesterday     to see one tractor and its drill         seeding the Fargo clay. For me that’s always April’s greatest thrill         which this year came in May. Snowmelt soaked into soil.  None ran . . . . Continue Reading »

Almost a Franciscan

A long walk up the mountain from Assisi— my boot heel severed from my right foot Redwing, I smacked it back, using some broken pavement. I’d walked my little brother to l’Eremo, some thirty years later I’d be a Catholic. Now, I suppose, I’m almost a Franciscan.  I’d come not to . . . . Continue Reading »

Easter Spoils, 2012

This is the end—for me, the beginning of life. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer (from his last recorded words) Words to a prison friend, spoken in haste. Gestapo men had come to transfer him, Low Sunday, sixty-seven years ago Today. The next morning, he’d be hanged with others. No question who . . . . Continue Reading »

Filter Tag Articles