By Scott Cairns
Your petitions—though they continue to bear
just the one signature—have been duly recorded.
Your anxieties—despite their constant,
relatively narrow scope and inadvertent
entertainment value—nonetheless serve
to bring your person vividly to mind.
Your repentance—all but obscured beneath
a burgeoning, yellow fog of frankly more
conspicuous resentment—is sufficient.
Your intermittent concern for the sick,
the suffering, the needy poor is sometimes
recognizable to me, if not to them.
Your angers, your zeal, your lipsmackingly
righteous indignation toward the many
whose habits and sympathies offend you—
these must burn away before you’ll apprehend
how near I am, with what fervor I adore
precisely these, the several who rouse your passions.
Scott Cairns, “Possible Answers to Prayer” from Philokalia: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by Scott Cairns. Reprinted with the permission of Zoo Press.
Source: Philokalia: New and Selected Poems (Zoo Press, 2002)
More By This Poet
First Storm and Thereafter
What I notice first within
this rough scene fixed
in memory is the rare
quality of its lightning, as if
those bolts were clipped
from a comic book, pasted
on low cloud, or fashioned
with cardboard, daubed
with gilt then...
More Poems about Religion
For the Feral Splendor That Remains
sometimes I strain
You learn to recognize beauty by its frame.
In the gilded hall, in the gilded frame, her milky neck
extended as she peers over the drawn bath. A target,
a study, a lesson: she requires you
to be beautiful. You should save her, no...