I guess I have a deficiency. God never
said boo to me when as a boy I stood
straining in church with muscular endeavor
for the sweet squirt of salvation. I never could
see why He spoke to this or that old lady,
sending her, hallelujah, down the aisle.
Was I alone in the congregation vile?
Or was their claim of spirit something shady?
And now when I read poets who simply Know,
drinking their imagery from Godís own cup,
whose poems "just come," and then, like Topsy, grow,
whereas I always have to make them up,
with never a tremor saying Break this line
or Save this phrase, regardless of its beat,
hear no obscurities which seem Divine,
and, knowing not Godís measure, still count feet,
I yearn that reason give me some relief
(besides those lapses when my mind, not soul,
is not so much inspired as out of control).
Non-linear God, help Thou my unbelief!
From The Village: New and Selected Poems,
Background by Jelane