And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

It is Lent.


The universe is a crumbling Victorian ruin
An Edward Hopper horrorhouse
In which we are spending the night

What silence!
We hum to ourselves to break that wall
of nothing, then call out

There is no response
This is probably a good thing
We might not want to hear the answer
At the antipode of audibility
Comes a distant, lifelike, creak

We wait
The housefolk will come soon
And we will not be able to hide from them

Since you receive light from another source,

Since you rise high in the sky
while many people watch,

Since you receive life again
even though your body dies,

Since you remove the darkness of the world
with your light,

Since you conceal your vast form
in a round white shape,

Since you bear a blemish,

Since those who read stars seek you,

Since you are appropriate for supplicants/night blossoms,

And since the hero of my poem
the Lord born of a virgin
who is conceived through the Holy Spirit
is like you,

Moon in the beautiful sky
you should quickly agree
to play joyously and happily
with the one who is entwined with Tamil poetry,
flowing like a waterfall.

Moon, come to play.

Was reading this afternoon Religions of India in Practice, a chapter about pillaittamil, the Tamil poetic genre of addressing religious figures as playful children, and came upon this, written in the 80s by Tamil Christian poet Arul Chellatturai. It brought tears to my eyes. I found all the pillaittamil beautiful, but this one just pierced me to the heart.

I wish I could have seen this when I was seventeen. It would have been perfect for my spiritual state at that time. But it’s good to have things to discover in middle age, too.

(A explanation of the poem’s imagery can be found here.)

It occurred to me I could post Japanese poetry on this blog.


When the floating bridge

Of the dream of a spring night

Was snapped, I awoke:

In the sky a bank of clouds

Was drawing away from the peak


-Fujiwara no Teika. From the Shinkokinshu collection, early 13th century