The National Catholic Review
Bonnie Thurston
You live in unremitting darkness,
surrounded by an unbearable silence
with which your friends cannot cope.
They fill the air with worthless words,
ugly flies buzzing around your sores.
Your howl of pain, moans in the night,
attempt to shatter the stillness
of divine and distant implacability.
Your cries are sacred songs,
humanitys common lament.

With no more reasonableness
than the cause of your agony,
the eyelids of the morning blink,
give a transitory glimmer
of the wildness behind all suffering.
You glimpse One whose ways are not ours,
Who, blasted by our whys, changes the subject.
For all this unearned, unredeemable pain,
your recompense is only the Is-ness of God,
barely enough, but light to wrestle on.

Bonnie Thurston, now retired after 30 years of university teaching, is the author of 11 theological books and two small collections of poetry. This poem is one of three runners-up in the 2007 Foley Poetry Contest.

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