Copyright (c) 1993 First Things 34 (June/July 1993):.

Simple Anna

Simple Anna liked the words
although she didn't understand
what many of them meant. Her man
sometimes could make them into worlds
where forests shaded green young girls.

The girls were always what she was
when what she was was what she dreamed.
By herself she never dreamed,
not any more. A woman does
such daylight things to what she is.

The words could be some country tree
and she again Anne Hathaway,
complex with what she still could be
while watching in an English shade
with all of heaven as a stage.

Kent Gramm


I invoke the air in rage,
am like a cancer in a cage-
only myself to burn, to burn;
mere glass and sun on an empty stage.

Pick and spade, curse and yearn-
agatefulls are struck and turned,
one by one and year by year,
until the hollow has been earned.

Now the reckoning is near,
now the starlings rise in fear;
a shadow sweeps across the page
and I was music, talking here.

Kent Gramm

For Duns Scotus

Under the dome-sky oneness
translucent and unincarnate as thought,
blank as unburnt light,
the hope of thisness chokes in nebulae
of beetles,
sand grains,
hydrogen atoms.

Gnosis blurs,
pits the achilded One
against the unfathered Many.
Asks, ''Who could hear each song
in the All Song?''

Yet the high sun has lanced down.
He washes each square inch of earth
with clear sight,
rays through needle's eye,
kindles motes with all-fire,
searches out my pupil
and graces even me
with light.

Mark P. Shea


Lord have mercy on my son for he is a lunatic, and sore vexed:
for ofttimes he falleth into the fire and ofttimes into the water.
Matthew 17:15

The devil is a man, not unlike
a father who has his faults.
He can't help but take hold
beneath the blue flame of vein and skin.
He will not be moved, divided from the body
he has made his own image.

Once in fire to forge a dagger,
Once in water to still this breath,
Yet the stink of life lingers.

We cannot kill what we do not own,
fighting for repossession, dying
to save the self, to be set free.
There is always a man waiting, our father,
wanting the way a father wants:
to cast, to reel, fisher of men.

Carol E. Miller

Music of the Spheres

In the beginning there was no beginning;
no no; no was; no in; no there-
nothing that was, was, and all that wasn't,
inconceivable, and there was no one
and nothing, and anything, to care:
until such time-in due course-creation had begun

So Mozart ages hence could write his Requiem.

James Andrew Miller