Poem: Praying in Public

The Mount 1 BW

Praying in Public

It is not for a lack of things on your mind
that holds you back from spewing the words
that are part of your spiritual discipline.
There are too many to settle in a brief hour,
to many to empty yourself of and be whole
for the start of the day.

And so you pray. Simply. Here in public
like an old priest in a baseball shirt,
sipping coffee, meditating at your table,
the odd one.

They have become used to you, the regulars,
your neighbors from this town and the next.
They are familiar with your regularity,
your two cups of coffee and a soda before breakfast,
your daily settling in the corner,
the unusual intensity in your eyes as you write
and read and pray. No one even looks anymore.

Some days, they come to you, one or two, now and then,
and empty themselves and you empty yourself to God,
unburdenings over eggs and toast. Some days we pray.
Some days we do not.

There was a time you believed prayer in public
was a pius thing. They were holy people who did that,
or ones that pretended to be.
You were neither.

That was before your own breaking, before your own understanding
of the limits of your own strength,
and the importance of mornings, the biggest battleground
in your own life,
and the power of emptying yourself,
no matter where,
the power of letting the demons spew,
and letting God slip in through the cracks
before they return.

About this poem

It’s no secret, the importance of my morning writing time. Now and again I write about it because I know just how many of us fight the same battle.

The picture was taken at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home in Massachusetts. Theres’ a lot of art on the grounds, and this one, with it’s empty glass boxes, sang to me.


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