The National Catholic Review
Scott Cairns
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,
and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:
and they were sore afraid.

Whenever we aver the God is nigh,
do we imply that He is ever otherwise?

When, in scripture, God’s anger is said
to be aroused, just how do you take that?

Ifwhether now or in the fullnesswe
stipulate that God is all in all, just where

or how would you position Hell? Which
is betterto break the law and soothe

the wounded neighbor, or to keep the law
and cause the neighbor pain? Do you mean it?

If another sins, what is that to you?
When the sinful suffer publicly, do you

find secret comfort in their grief, or will
you also weep? They are surely grieving;

are you weeping now? Assuming sin is sin,
whose do you condemn? Who is judge? Who

will feed the lambs? The sheep? Who, the goats?
Who will sell and give? Who will be denied?

Whose image haunts the mirror? And why
are you still here? What exactly do you hope

to become? When will you begin?


Scott Cairns’s books include Philokalia: New & Selected Poems and the forthcoming spiritual memoir, Slow Pilgrim.

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