The National Catholic Review

Thou heardst me, truer than tongue, confess...
— G. M. Hopkins

The barely prayable prayer as the words fall away,
Words unguessed or unguessable, soft silence only,
Penetrant silence, the pit, then something stirring...
Importunate, unquenchable mind, astray
Or aswarm, attuned for odd moments after, then
Drifting. Then a lull & a lifting, then self flickering back,
As the parched sunflower turns towards the sun....

A woman kneels, head bent forward, each cell attendant
Upon the flame which, consuming, does not consume,
But gently enwrapts, caressing, filling herself with itself,
The burning clouds lingering, then hovering off, like
Mist off a mountain, here in this kitchen, this cell, here,
Where the timeless crosses with time, this chiasmus,
Infinity & now, nowhere & always, this cosmos, this fresh-

Found dimension, all attention gone over now, as flame
Flickers and whispers, all care turning to ash, all fear,
All consequence even, all given over, ah, lover to lover
Now, saying yes, yes, whatever you will, my dear,
Yes echoing down the long halls of time, yes,
In spite of all disappointment, of the death of Love even,
The barely sayable yes again, yes again, yes I will. Yes.

Paul Mariani's most recent books are Thirty Days: On Retreat with the Exercises of St. Ignatius (Viking, 2002) and God & the Imagination: On Poets, Poetry & the Ineffable (U. of Georgia Press, 2002).

Comments

Paul Kelly | 11/26/2003 - 1:21pm
Paul Marian's poem "I Did Say Yes" is wondrous, "with something stirring", even as I offer my "barely sayable yes" for his poem.

Paul Kelly | 11/26/2003 - 1:21pm
Paul Marian's poem "I Did Say Yes" is wondrous, "with something stirring", even as I offer my "barely sayable yes" for his poem.

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