Saturday, June 22, 2013

I Hope I Break God's Heart Like That

I Hope I Break God’s Heart Like That

Returning from dumping the garbage
in the basement three floors below,
finding my dog not in her usual spot,
I call her name.
She appears in the loft,
where she’s been looking for me
sniffing under my comforter
nosing her way behind my bathroom door
seeking the stay of her existence
my absence urging her
to climb the perilous stairs whose every step
hurts her bones
to know that I am there,
with her.

I hope I break God’s heart like that
when he sneaks out the door of my world,
returns to find me not in my usual haunts
and calls my name
catches me roaming the place where he
sleeps, washes, works without me while
I sleep and wait trusting below
when he sees me staring down at him with cataract eyes,
straining to hear his voice, not sure
if it is the one that is my life
or a stranger
when he watches me trundle down the stairs
accepts an offhanded kiss as I brush
past on my way to nestle into my dark corner to sleep
all well in the world
the absence of his presence become a present absence again.

I know that’s not how maturity is supposed to work.
Good selves leave the womb, individuate from the mother, let go
the hand of the father to walk on their own,
let the wandering lover go free,
befriend the absence of God in the world and
shoulder the heavy pack of human responsibility
like a barefooted Sherpa gracefully climbing
snow-covered peaks.
But spirits are not psyches.
The spirit lives and move and grows how it will,
in fits and starts, somersaults and handsprings,
backbends and roundups, comings and goings,
leaps and falls.
And I keep falling,
falling into love, into longing, into need
for that in which I live and move and have my being,
anxious to turn the absence of its presence into
a present absence
yet again.
I hope that breaks God’s heart and he comes to me
where I’m sleeping, bends down to stroke
the soft fur between my ears, and kisses my cheek,
in silence, saying, “I’m here now. I always come back.”


  1. Mary, as always, your poetry arouses something within in me. Are you familiar with Carlo Carretto's book, "The God Who Comes?" I love this quote from that book: “His coming is bound to his promise, not to our works or virtue. We have not earned the meeting with God because we have served him faithfully in our brethren, or because we have heaped up such a pile of virtue as to shine before heaven. God is thrust onward by his love, not attracted by our beauty. He comes even in moments when we have done everything wrong, when we have done nothing … when we have sinned.”

    All through the Bible, God comes - and He finds people whether they are hiding, like Adam and Eve; in the wilderness, like Moses; at work, like the disciples.

    When will you be publishing a book of poetry?

    1. Thanks, Rika. I don't know Caretto's book. I'll get a copy and read it. The quote you cite so clearly announces that profound note of the gift and freedom of grace and love (or what some people call mystery, life, or ...) that we don't and cannot control but are invited to respond to in wonder and gratitude.
      I wish I were a poet!