Saturday, March 19, 2011

March 19: Ghosts, Emily Dickinson at McDonald's, and Psalm 11

This morning when I woke up, I followed my normal routine of praying, showering, and then asking for God to send me my poem for the day.  It didn't work.  As I got breakfast for my son, changed his diaper, dressed him, I was in a panic.  Inspiration has been striking me so quickly these days, I thought maybe I had gone to the well one too many times.  Maybe it was bone dry, closed for the season.

My family and I went to McDonald's for breakfast.  We ordered and started eating.  The whole time I'm chewing on my sausage biscuit, I'm thinking of possible subject matter--"In Praise of Cholesterol" or "Thank God for Buttering My Biscuit" or "Save Me From Heart Disease, Lord."  Nothing was really clicking with me.  Then my daughter took a picture of me with her iPod Touch.  She did something to the photo with a free app she had downloaded and showed me the result.

There, sitting over my shoulder, was the ghost of Emily Dickinson.  I had my poem.  God wasn't letting me struggle for shits and grins.  He was waiting to give me a picture to post AND a poem to write.  It took me about another hour-and-a-half to write the psalm.  Add in another couple hours of tweaking, and viola!--Psalm 11.  Enjoy!

(For the record, Saint Marty is a firm believer in ghosts.)

Saint Marty and the ghost of Emily
Psalm 11:  Praise for the Nun of Amherst

Lord—send the buzz of poetry
A fly—black as the grave—
Bless me with the gift of verse—
The ghost of Emily.

Fill my lines with feathers—Lord—
Song perches in my soul—
My spirit hops—Its caws—It crows—
It fills the air with hymns.

If my psalm seems narrow—weak—
Thin fellow in the grass—
Pardon my unbraiding words—
They stumble into bog.

But if my music makes White Heat
Against vermilion cloud—
Take flight with me—My Heart—My Love—
Rise toward Eternity.

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