I was paging through a book by Molly Peacock the other night, and I came across a poem that reminded me why I love her so much. I remember the first time I read the poem below. It kind of opened my eyes to the possibilities of poetry about spiritual or sacred subjects. How the best poems push the boundaries of acceptability and end up in a completely holy place.
I want to write a poem like Molly Peacock's "Simple" one day. It may take me a lifetime, but I'm willing to wait.
Saint Marty is a patient guy.
by: Molly Peacock
When the wafer dissolves on my tongue I won-
der what part of the Lord I have eaten,
His scrotum molecularly recon-
structed in a pale disc, or a wheaten
flap of armpit? Perhaps internal organs
vaporized to universal atoms
from the thorax of our Lord. Others had plans
to preserve the saints in bits, the phantom
of Anthony's larynx in a ruby vase,
Agatha's breasts in cold caskets, the flesh
reserved. I only eat our Lord and mas-
ticate the host, the church a creche,
and I in my stall not even knowing how
to blow glass housing for a saint or wield
a hammer with my hoof, unable to bow
or scoop breasts into a box. The world
transubstantiates me to animal
evolving in reverse: soon I could be a lizard
on the wall of the manger, in time once-celled,
perhaps a single cell of the baby Lord,
perhaps His tongue, so what I chew a symbol
I might at last become: simple.
|A simple poem|