At This Still Point of the Turning World
The winter poplars stand—
Strange masts with spars
Under cold stars.
I shall wait a myriad sail of leaves
In spring rains and winds.
I shall bend in starboards and lees
Still riddling the pilgrim signs
Toward the always mysterious ends.
Give thanks for all things
On the plucked lute, and likewise
The harp of ten strings.
Have the lifted horn
Greatly blare, and pronounce it
Good to have been born.
Lend the breath of life
To the stops of the sweet flute
Or capering fife,
And tell the deep drum
To make, at the right juncture,
Then, in grave relief,
Praise too our sorrows on the
Cello of shared grief.
The Romantic's Prayer
Help me to lay aside my glitzy schemes,
My starry ifs, my svelte velleities;
Write off the wasted seasons, the regrets,
The fantasies of fame, the stubborn dreams
Of lotteries won and weeks of sunlit ease
On the Riviera, trips on private jets,
"Adventure and romance," those heady themes!
Help me to treasure simple pieties,
Resolves to which I've always said, "Not yet!"
Let me retrieve the rich, rejected graces,
The chances lost to be with children, wife,
And find fulfillment in the homey places.
Lord, reconcile me with my life.
"I Did Not Come to Call the Righteous"
We ninety-nine obedient sheep;
we workers hired at dawn’s first peep;
we faithful sons who strive to please,
we virgins who take pains to keep
our lamps lit, even in our sleep;
we law-abiding Pharisees;
we wince at gospels such as these.
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