The National Catholic Review

Sometimes I think that Jesus must have been on the train.
—Lost Property auctioneer


Who left them and how did they walk down
the long platform at Reading or at Slough?
Did they abandon their trusty wheelchairs
or throw down their crutches and take the stairs
unaided for the first time in years, then hop
into a waiting van and say, “Let’s shop
for dancing shoes at McMurray’s
on the way?” Did they arrive and hurry
up the nursing-home drive shouting, “I’m out of here!
Pack up my stuff and buy everyone a beer
on me?” Travel is a marvel, I know,
but how could they up and out on their own
without braces or canes, not noticing they walked
without walkers, leaving passengers to talk
of miracles or fraud, and why didn’t they
telephone to get their trophies and say
“I’ve got to explain,” and “Who was that nice conductor
who came to my aid and helped me off the floor
and said ‘Walk and fall no more,’ and were
there any witnesses so I can be sure
of this business? Mind you, I don’t mean to complain,
though while I’m on the line I’ll mention the train
was more than forty-five minutes late.”
It’s hard to win when the world knows you’ll fail—
Did even one return to thank British Rail?

Listen to an interview with Michael F. Suarez, S.J.

Michael F. Suarez, S.J., teaches English at Fordham University and Campion Hall, Oxford.

Comments

Michael O'Neill | 7/14/2008 - 3:11am
Editor, I went to correct the preview comment. & it somehow inadvertently was swooped away. this is how I wanted to correct it: For Tom Why? Because. Because why? Because the Clockmaker moves his hands, squirms a little & opens them. "See, nothing's hidden." I have to agree, but still I'd like to know how he did it. He won't answer. Only says, we all will fail. That was one of your worst, I would say. I would add asshole if he wasn't God. How do I know, you ask. I don't, the recurring dream arrives & says it's time. I plead, "I could cry salty tears..." perhaps by Billie Holliday, but I don't care whAT time it is, too many things left undone. I failed too God, so I can't leave now. I don't care about the prize or the question marks people have. I ony wanted to be good, well, most of the time. Like the time I found $400 on the floor of the crowded uptown Madison Ave bus, but you were gone then too & I gave it to desk sargent in the precinct. Two days before Christmas, 40 years ago. Rotten time. You don't have to know everything, even what time it is. Give beauty, beauty, beauty back to God Beauty's self & beauty's giver. Jesuits win. It's America. Michael O'Neill
Thomas Chisholm | 6/15/2008 - 9:50pm
Well it had a rhyme and a message. Is it a metaphor? It's a mystery to me. Why a winner and what is the message? I can understand the photo, the desperation on the front of the June 9-16 issue. I know the cause, I can grasp it and curse. The message is not obscure. Why? Why is my question to both Iraq and the poem?
A.Y. Mann | 6/3/2008 - 1:10pm
DESPITE WHAT YOU SENSE I ask of the sky, pray tell why am I here? Not expecting answers, still compelled to try; Gnawing unknowing, the only fate I fear — Aging unsummoned, sets surety awry. I beg all divine, give to me my venture — Know that I am worthy! Ready for your call; Yet to sit servile, evermore indentured — If that is my promise, severed shall I fall. I cry to heaven, don’t leave me here unspent — Instill me with sound will, infuse me with drive; Procrastination, is downfall devil-sent — Come now superego! Persuade me to strive! Despite what you sense, purpose we do wield; Parry striking doubt, feel import revealed. A.Y. Mann

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