A few poems on prayer: #2. “The Nature of Prayer” by Elizabeth Jennings

by Kim on September 18, 2010

(a debt to Van Gogh’s “Crooked Church”)

Maybe a mad fit made you set it there
Askew, bent to the wind, the blue-print gone
Awry, or did it? Isn’t every prayer
We say oblique, unsure, seldom a simple one,
Shaken as your stone tightening in the air?

Decorum smiles a little. Columns, domes
Are sights, are aspirations. We can’t dwell
For long among such loftiness. Our homes
Of prayer are shaky and, yes, parts of Hell
Fragment the depths from which the great cry comes.

Elizabeth Jennings, Selected Poems (Manchester, UK: Carcanet Press, 1986), p. 119.

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