A thousand years of Christianity I know

A Thousand Splendid Hymns
May 15, 2012
For they were told to kick the dust off their shoes
May 21, 2012

Sitting on a bus, on a Monday
And there are characters who read,
Think to talk of knitting,
And teenagers; their backs laced
With bundles of books.
I courteously stoop at houses,
The congregation of the bus with me—
Houses that nominate their Lord
For everyone’s salvation; while
70s-shoed grandmothers tote their
groceries in painful strides toward
Main Street.

But between the neon playgrounds
In the bleak and lonely city park,
Where homeless tend the snow and
Pigeons dance away the composition of
a high school bell,
there runs a happy band of children,
no more worries for the playground,
than snacks to be shared—
Oreos and Lays, and root beer candies—
And off again to running
From the opposite sex.

The bus stops that Monday
As I make my solitary way past
Hair salons with coffee-laden stylists
And all the bout of merchandise—
From books to early-morning beer.
It wanders through me, a sort of
Thought, which wants to say,

Such life is brimming, at the ebb of
A week, at the awakening of things
That prefer to sleep—and nothing tells
Of emptiness. Where quiet rests,
Only possibility; where lonely stirs, a
Pause for introspection.

One day I said (I remember being excited),
That Christ is in these things;
These whatever morning antics that I find,
That take not reason, and are not reasonable.
But I wonder which backpack housed religion?
What plastic bag of groceries was brimming with
Testaments of faith and salad dressing?
Was knitting bound to believe, I wonder?

I am sure not half of morning’s company
Knows what Mecca is, or where it is, or that
It is; nor that when Oreos are traded for M&Ms,
And kickball victors gloat to kindergarten cheers
Did they have Christ in mind.
Nor is a ball a rotund prophet by disguise,
Nor is the playground holy ground,
Nor any thousand things which Christians say,
And Muslims vow, and religion so rabidly confirms.

Is it not enough to play with fever, to be
So ill as near to death, to be so ravenous our hunger
Never ends; to live always by extremes?
Let’s not give it titles or a name;
God is obsolete.

A thousand years of Christianity I know, and
Not my simple life. What would it take, today,
Stamping out the weeds in grass, to be happy
On my way to the post office, and home;
To laugh with a prayer that is the day?

 

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